"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." (Matthew 1:23)

"Come on people, get with it!" my friend grumbled. "Take down your Christmas decorations! It's been a month anyway," she exclaimed in an exasperated tone as we passed a few neighborhoods still adorned with wreaths and lights.

I peered at her out of the corner of my eye to see if she was joking. She was serious.

Christmas is a special time of year. A time to celebrate God Incarnate: the One who came to free us from sin. Family times, once-in-a-year culinary delights, carols, gifts, decorations—all come out in celebration of the greatest Gift of all.

But should our celebration of Christ be relegated to only once a year? How would my life and those of my children change if we lived in constant celebration of the Messiah? Here are some observations I have gleaned from the Christmas story that can impact the way we live throughout the year:

•   Christ is Emmanuel, God with us, not for a season or a special time of year, but always! How can we not revel in this hope and celebrate this promise year-round?

•   Mary willingly yielded to and accepted God's will when she didn't quite understand it all. Both Joseph and Mary were open to God's leading and obeyed Him despite the high cost.

•   The wise men persisted in their search of "he that is born King of the Jews." When they reached the place where Jesus was, they recognized Him as King, humbly offered their gifts to Him, and bowed in worship of the One who is the Great I Am.

•   The shepherds worshiped Christ with joyful abandonment. Excited after seeing Jesus, they were passionate in spreading the news about the One who was born the King of Kings.

•   Herod, consumed by jealousy, fear, and the desire to keep his power, destroyed himself and others, bringing sorrow to countless families.

I want to abide by the truths contained in these stories throughout the year. To live in the constant anticipation of meeting Him one day, to live in the joy of His presence in my life, to be filled with wonder at the ultimate gift the Father has given me in Christ. To surrender daily to His will and obey Him no matter how hard it may be, whether others agree with what I do or not; to worship Him daily as the shepherds and wise men did; to be openhearted and generous year-round; and to be passionate about sharing what He has done in my life. I want to keep in mind that I should be neither self-serving nor consumed with my own desires, fears, and pride—I can self-destruct and hurt my family and others in the process. I want to constantly yield to His rule in my life. As God through His Spirit empowers me to live this way, I pray that my children will see, learn, and desire to live humbly, in joyful surrender to the King of Kings.

As you bring out the decorations, ask God to bathe you in His joy and open your eyes to His glory. As you pack away the decorations, remember that He is with you always; He desires to abide with you, to commune with you daily. It's in the daily abiding that we can be refreshed, that we can grow, that we can hear His voice comforting, encouraging, instructing, directing. He is Emmanuel, God with us always. Hallelujah!  

*This article first published December 14, 2009


As one who daily needs and experiences the depth and power of God's grace, Anita Mellott writes and speaks to encourage others. A homeschooling mom, she writes words of encouragement and hope at From the Mango Tree (http://amellott.wordpress.com), and can be contacted via that website.

Originally published in Home School Enrichment Magazine. Now, get a FREE subscription to HSE Digital by visiting www.HSEmagazine.com/digital Every issue is packed with homeschool encouragement, help, and information. Get immediate access to the current issue when you start your FREE subscription today!