Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I love the spirit of joy and giving that permeates our lives.  Bonnie and I start the season with our traditional selection of Christmas movies.  Here in the Central Valley of California we don’t have a white Christmas, but we always watch the movie.  It delights our hearts to see a “White Christmas” in Vermont.  We are always exhilarated when Jim Bailey recognizes that he has a wonderful life, and we are warmed by the miracle that happens on 34th street.  Even old Ebenezer Scrooge finally succumbs to the spirit of Christmas.

At our house decorating starts the weekend after Thanksgiving.  The tree goes up, and merriment appears all over the house.  In our sitting room the town of Bedford Falls appears.  In every corner there are angels, candles and lots of holly.  The outside also gets a trimming of lights and a special entryway setting that invites our guests to enjoy Christmas with us.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are always spent with our family.  Our children and their children are at the center of our hearts.  There is no greater way to celebrate than sharing love and good food with those most precious to us.  Gifts are exchanged, and the twinkle in the young ones eyes imprints deep joy in our hearts.

Each year, our church family is invited to our home for an evening of gingerbread house building.  We share soup and bread and a fun filled evening that results in many variations on the traditional gingerbread house.  Our home is filled with laughter and joy throughout the evening.  What a wonderful experience of celebration with our friends.

At the top of our outside entry decorations I have placed a sign.  It reads: “Emmanuel, God with us.”  The sign is a reminder that we are celebrating God’s advent, the arrival of the promised messiah.  All the celebration, laughter, and joy that fill our hearts are in response to the God designed intervention He arranged for us because He loves us.  He redeemed us and set us free from the reign of sin and death.  The Apostle John records it this way:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him (John 3:16-17).

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