What are you wishing to find under the tree?

After 21 years of rushing downstairs to open all the presents, beckoning with bows and tinsel, this Christmas the best gift is coming not on a sleigh, but on an airplane. Our daughter, our first baby, will arrive home from studying in England for three months… just after lunch time Christmas Day.

Christmas, gifts and babies. So much in common. This reminds me of a tradition we’ve tried to keep through the years. We have a nativity set on the mantle, where the stockings hang. My husband and I will hide baby Jesus until Christmas morning. Before they open their stockings, the girls have to find baby Jesus and put him in the manger next to his mom and dad. We also have a kneeling Santa that we place in front of the manager, just to show that the ones we respect and admire have their priorities in order.

That’s the greatest gift of Christmas for me. The God who created the human race had witnessed for hundreds of years that we were not figuring out this thing called life. So he said to himself, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, let’s send one of us down there as a human to show them how abundant life can be. Jesus raised his hand and said, “I’ll go. I mean, we’ve had this in the strategy manual for thousands of years. It’s time!”

In the midst of all this talk about mangers and saviors, donkeys and gifts from wise men, my favorite part of Christmas is the reminder that Jesus didn’t come to bring us religion. (Jesus, by the way, was not a Christian.) Jesus came to show us what abundant life looks like.

This story about the birds in the barn is one that I’ve looked forward to every year since I can remember hearing it as a child. I hope it fills your Christmas Eve with joy. Find it on YouTube here.

What are you wishing for this Christmas?
What are you wishing your new year to bring?
I wish for you joy, purpose and abundance!