Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just a Little Bit More

December 9, 2008 IOW

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.” “Maybe Christmas… perhaps…means a “little” bit more.” By Dr. Theodor Geisel (Dr. Suess) from How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

With the hustle and bustle at Christmas time it’s easy to get caught in the flow of the downstream traffic. Our minds are on bargains instead of believing in Christ. We have decorations to put up instead of praises to God to lift up. Every party we attend requires us to bring our favorite Christmas goody instead of consuming and overindulging on the food the Spirit has to offer.

Hummmmmm….maybe, just maybe there is something more to Christmas than what we get from a store. I myself want to say….Well duh!......but sadly enough there are people out there that don’t understand that “little” bit more. They turn their backs on the reason we celebrate and the true meaning of Christmas gets buried, distorted, changed, or lost.

On Sunday my small class of 5-year-olds was asked to do a video that was going to be used for the Christmas Eve program. All they needed to do was answer a few simple questions and sing jingle bells for their audience. The question that was asked was, “what does Christmas mean to you.” The vote was unanimous. It was all about the presents they get and being with family. “What part does Jesus play?” they were asked. “I don’t know,” was their reply. From behind the camera the teacher (me) was whispering to the next kid in line to be video taped, “its Jesus birthday.”

Being kids who are new to the experience of church whose parents don’t attend, they had yet to learn the true meaning of Christmas. It is time for me to throw another birthday party for Jesus to teach them what the “little” bit more was all about, time to dig out the baby book.

What baby book? Jesus’ baby book I had started years ago with my 4th, 5th, and 6th grade class. Having difficulties getting their attention to listen to the story of Jesus’ birth one more time I had to do something different. To them the Christmas story was a drag, “yeah, yeah, yeah, we know what Christmas is about we’ve heard the story a million times. Its Jesus birth, now can we get to the presents and Christmas goodies!”

No! What we got to was a birthday party for Jesus one year and a baby shower the next December for Mary. We named what we thought His favorite toys were. The first tooth He got and the first one He lost. His first visitor He had and so much more. Class after class added to the book. When I thought there was no more that could added we always managed to come up with something a “little” bit more.

Christmas is what we make of it. We can never change what it’s all about, what changes is our focus and how we feel about it. Christ has come, the message remains the same. We are the ones responsible for focusing in on what needs to be instead of what we want it to be. I heard recently someone say that Christmas is celebrating our faith. Whatever faith that is doesn’t matter it’s a time of celebrating our faith. No! Time for another birthday party for Jesus because its Jesus we are celebrating and the “little” bit more He brings with Him.

The little bit more wrapped up in His peace, love, salvation, forgiveness, friendship, guidance, grace, companionship, and sovereignty. One of the boys in my class that was there with his brother showed me a dog bite scar on his leg and said that was his relationship with Jesus. Puzzled by his thinking I tried to bring myself down to his 8-year-old level. What do you mean? I asked. He told me he shared with Jesus about the time he was bit and that meant he had a relationship with Jesus. It’s the beginning Ben! It’s a part of the “little” bit more.

This Christmas don’t settle for the hustle and bustle. Settle for Jesus and the relationship that goes beyond December, crinkled up wrapping paper and seasonal decorations. A thing that filters into all areas of our lives as we watch the “little” bit more grow and grow into something bigger and BIGGER!

Happy Birthday Jesus,
Happy Birthday!
Copyright 2008 Karen J. Gillett @ Pencil Marks and Recipes Publishing


Susan said...

Wow, this was great! It's always so nice to stop by and read your posts.

Hope you have a blessed day today♥

MiPa said...

What a great post! A baby book is a wonderful idea for teaching. My girls are busy planning what kind of cake Jesus wants for his birthday this year. It is a riot to listen to them debate--and even to pray and ask him what He wants. Helps me keep the season in perspective as well. Thanks for sharing.

:: jamie :: said...

I love what you did with your class! How wonderful & creative.

Thanks for sharing!

Laurie Ann said...

Great stuff here! I love the concept of the baby book and baby shower. Awesome ideas that take the focus off us and emphasize the birth of our Savior.

Patricia said...

Karen, I love the idea of a baby book for Jesus. What a great visual for children and adults alike. This is be a project I'd like to incorporate into our family Christmas celebrations (especially as our kids are getting to the marrying age and new members will join us).

Thank you for sharing this great post!

Denise said...

Such a wonderful post.

lori said...

Any post that begins with this...
"We have decorations to put up instead of praises to God to lift up. Every party we attend requires us to bring our favorite Christmas goody instead of consuming and overindulging on the food the Spirit has to offer." is going to be a really good one....
We work soooo hard to help the kids understand and we have to realize they are watching and listening ever so closely...

What a blessing this was...Thanks for sharing today!
peace and Merry Christmas!

Esthermay said...

I almost started my IOW Post today with, "Well, DUH!"
Great minds. . .
Yes... it's sad that even churches sometimes dwell on the "family togetherness" thing and "love" -in-general instead of the Greatest Story Ever Told. That Baby in a manger was Murdered! For you and for me!
. . . . . ???
Did you say a baby shower for Mary?!
That's just funny.
~esthermay @The Heart of a Pastor's Wife