Last night we went to Christmas Eve service. It was actually the eve of Christmas Eve, yet the House (House of God, that is) was full. We checked our babies, Daniel and Haley, into nursery, then headed to the sanctuary to worship. I stood there thinking "This is how it is really supposed to be... our focus... not on presents, not on trees, not on lights, not on food, but on Christ." I am so thankful for all those things above because they truly help me to celebrate for the birthday party of the year, but it warmed my heart to step away from it all and just worship.
To my right was my sweet husband Mark, who is usually next to me in church (so thankful for a real man who leads his family in a spiritual way). To my left was Caleb. He is usually in our kids programs so it was special to have him with us in what he calls "big church." However, what makes it extra special this year is that fact that Caleb was with us on Christmas Eve. As a blended family I am required to share my son, especially on holidays. I have had several Christmas' without him, and next year he will again be with his dad on Christmas Eve. Tears came to my eyes as I paused a cherished these two boys that I love, with me, on each side, hand in hand.
I then remembered what I was standing in church celebrating... the day that Jesus left His Dad for Christmas. He spent His first Christmas in a barn with stinky animals. He came to walk among us on Earth... that we may know Him. Emmanuel, God with us. I guess Christmas wouldn't be Christmas if He didn't come, but really, did He have to? He chose to! But in the infamous words of my eight year old boy - "Why?" Because He LOVES you. Because He loves YOU. Because HE loves you.
My wonderful Pastor shared an incredible message referencing the song "Silent Night." He shared that this is probably the only birthday party we go to each year where we don't give gifts to the birthday Boy, but to the other party guests instead. However, what do you give the One who has everything, right? I was in awe of Pastor's next point though. Jesus actually doesn't have everything. Unless you give it to Him, He doesn't have your heart. He came, and left His Dad in Heaven, to die... to die for me, for you, for all. He came so we could have forgiveness... so we could spend eternity in Heaven. On Christmas, we celebrate, we give, we love. But on this Christmas, as we gather together with our family, I pray we all take a deep look at our heart and check to see who is holding it. Are we holding our own hearts? Or is He... the One who loved YOU enough to leave His Dad at Christmas. Celebrate what HE has done!