- My daughter’s family lives in North Carolina, and they spent Christmas with her husband’s family again, where there are plenty of children of all ages for the grandchildren to play with.
- Our unofficially adopted daughter who lives nearby had toddlers with the flu, so we were encouraged not to come for a visit.
- We couldn’t afford afford to travel to New York or Tennessee to be with my husband’s family or my own brothers and sisters.
- We never accomplished getting a Christmas tree up in our home again this year.
- The above situations aren’t all that unique to me. Click here to see what I posted in Christian Children’s Authors three years ago.
On the upside, we had other things going for us this year:
- We enjoyed singing in two different Christmas concerts this year. Our own church choir is exceptional, and it’s such a privilege to sing in it—even more so considering the small rural community we live in. The other choir was made up of two church choirs that joined forces and sang in both churches on two Sunday evenings in a row. It was a blessing to enjoy that fellowship with Christians in other churches.
- We’re trying to prepare property in the country to build a home on, and we were given the free use of a “Bobcat” (mini-Caterpillar) for a couple weeks recently to help clear areas on the property and make a circular driveway. Our tiny cabin-in-the-making provided a rustic getaway for us, and that’s where we spent Christmas Day.
- The weather was beautiful.
But the big difference in this year’s Christmas apart from that of earlier years came from the object of my focus—the baby Jesus Christ and the message of the first Christmas.
I can’t exactly take credit for setting out to make Him the total focus over the past few weeks. This was the byproduct of a blogging series I took on early in December for my Bible Bites 4 Teens blog. My goal was to write a series of posts that would encourage teens to focus on Christ this Christmas.
I used the arrangement of my children’s book The First Christmas along with the illustrations but tried to delve a little deeper for a teen audience. This pushed me to re-read and explore the various passages as well as explore what others had written about the various events. So these events were continually on my mind as I wrote one post after another.
I tried to time publishing each post to spread the posts out at the beginning, giving a sense of time passing, and closer together at the time of the birth of Christ and the shepherds’ visit. Then the last posts about the wise men are spread out again to convey the time it took for them to travel from a distant country. The last posts still haven’t published, and some still haven’t been written.
I’ve never felt so primed to feel the presence of God, Emmanuel, God with us . . . who left His home in Heaven to squeeze His full personhood into a tiny baby that had to be fed and cared for by a human mother and stepfather.
And the angels came to tell the lowly shepherds that nobody else valued.
And the heavens opened up with legions of angels praising God!
And then there was Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus, wide-eyed with wonder. What would it be like to be the earthly parents of this little baby who was God Himself?
for thirty more years before Christ would begin His ministry.
Janice D. Green is the author of The First Christmas. She has a passion for reaching youth with the hope that’s available to them in God’s Word. Remembering her own youth and the mistakes she made in her past has added much fuel to her passion. She wished she had understood better what the Bible had to offer during those trying years, and hopes to share these insights with teens through her blog, Bible Bites 4 Teens.
Janice has over twenty years of experience in the public school system and has always treasured the relationships she developed with her students. She often found herself defending one or more students who were being picked on in one way or another; she discovered that defending them bonded her more closely with all her students.