Posts tagged #Christ in Christmas

Jackie's Journey: What do You Value?

We demonstrate what we value by what we give our attention and affection toDedicated moms know where their children are all the time.  If one is missing, while Christmas shopping, even for a moment…panic sets in.  We value our little ones!  

The object of our devotion reveals what is important to us.

 I walked into the Mall over a month ago and was greeted by sparkling lights, festive music, fully decorated Christmas trees of every size and color, and the warm scent of cinnamon and pine wafting in the air…it was October 1st!   Thanksgiving was six weeks away!   Christmas was two months away!

The materialistic focus had begun and the most celebrated event of the year was lost in a world of themed decorations, color coordinated ornaments, hearth garlands and welcoming wreaths ready for our front doors...an obvious demonstration of what the world values.  I looked in vain for a Nativity scene.  Where was the real object of our celebration...“the reason for the season”…Jesus Christ? 

“Christ is not valued at all unless He is valued above all!”

 In our newest release “A Royal Christmas to Remember” the princesses found that although the entire village had been ransacked by a band of marauding outlaws, they were amazed to find that the nativity scene had been left unscathed.   They stood gazing down at the baby Jesus and thanked God that He had come into the world and that no one was injured in the attack.   Their focus was on the Savior who had come to bring peace.   Regardless of the circumstances around them, their hearts were captured by the wonderful gift God gave us in His Son!  They were filled with unspeakable joy!

“Christmas is not a myth, not a tradition, not a dream.  It is a glorious reality.  It is a time of joy.  Bethlehem’s manger crib became the link that bound a lost world to a loving God.  From that manger came a Man who not only taught us a new way of life, but brought us into a new relationship with our Creator.  Christmas means that God is interested in the affairs of people; that God loves us so much that He was willing to give us His Son.”  Billy Graham

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given…and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

 Isaiah 9: 6

Who is the object of your attention this holiday season?

~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Are You a Christmas Procrastinator?

If you go to my house right now and open any drawer or closet, you will most likely find a mess.  Some of them might be clean, but not all.  I am naturally a procrastinator.  I work best under pressure!  Fully owning this part of my personality, I approach many areas of my life under duress. I used to approach Christmas in the same frantic manner, until I was challenged to rethink the whole season.

Because the old me would run crazy through Christmas so busy that I could barely hold my breath.  I was terribly rushed through the beauty of this lovely time of year because I was a Christmas Procrastinator.  My time with the Lord suffered, my relationship with my husband and kids suffered, my life was just one blurry mess and then it was over and felt depressed because I never got to “enjoy” it.  Does anyone else feel that way?

Many people encourage us to simplify the holiday, but alas I cannot do that well.  I just love the many traditions and lessons Jesus' birth brings with it. I am a party planner at heart so December is just one big party. So how could I save myself from running into the ground? I was encouraged to begin early and plan well. Today I am here to share that it does work and you can breathe in the midst of Christmas!

Years ago when my children were little, I heard a lesson on "Making Christmas Doable". The speaker gave us a list of ideas on how to plan out the season.  Most of us sat in awe as she introduced her material with throw-up on our shirts and diaper bags filled the brim. She encouraged us to take one or two ideas from the seemingly hundreds of thoughts and implement them. Some of them even start in October! She didn't want to overwhelm us, but instead give us a target to shoot for. So I did! Here is a example of a Christmas checklist from RealSimple.com that is similar.

As I am making my to-do lists, I need to remember my priorities.  First and foremost, I need to spend time thinking about everyone and everything that is important.  For me, I want to spend time daily with God, work out in the morning, spend time with my husband at night and have face-to-face time with my kids.  These are non-negotiables for me every day. So they can’t change during December.  This is why I make a Christmas plan!

What are your priorities during the holiday season?  What can’t you forget or what event can’t you miss?  Plan ahead to know those things.  For God is a God of order as we find in 1st Corinthians and not of confusion.  He lays out his plans in Genesis and references us doing the same in Luke.  So this idea is not mine, it is God’s idea for us to be thinking ahead.

Seizing the season means that you are taking back control of the things that you have control over so that God will be able to interrupt you will HIS plan!  Nothing is worse then for God to have an assignment for you in the BIG PLAN and you or I don’t have time for it!

This lesson reminds me of the Princess Parables newest story, "A Royal Christmas to Remember".  The girls are frantically decorating the castle, but are really missing the reason for Christmas in the first place. Only when the town and castle are captured by evil merauders do they see what they have been missing.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to miss anything this Christmas!

Won't you join me! I have ordered our Christmas cards and bought a couple of presents just this week. My goal is to help you with a plan to tackle this year as best as possible. The real reason is Jesus, not the to do list.  Give ourself attainable goals to insure we are ready and not just flying by the seat of our pants!

 

How do you "plan" for Christmas?

~Jeanna Young - When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!

Jackie's Journey "A Royal Christmas to Remember"

“A blanket of powdery snow covered the castle walls.  The princess sisters found themselves in a scene right out of a fairytale.  The most remarkable winter in years has arrived.  Christmas is only a night away.  Princesses Joy, Grace, Faith, Charity and Hope are surrounded by glittering gifts, a huge Christmas tree in the parlor, sparkling candles, and a dramatic night sky with one star bigger and brighter than all the others.  A sudden rap at the door of the castle puts the kingdom on immediate alert!  Will a marauding band of outlaws ruin the princesses’ perfect Christmas Eve?”

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This is an exciting day for Jeanna and I!  Tomorrow, our newest seasonal release, 

A Royal Christmas to Remember hits book stores and will be available through Amazon.com, christianbooks.com, Barnes and Noble, your local Christian book store… 

This is the second of our seasonal books.  Its appearance before the holiday season is perfectly timed to arrive before the Christmas crunch.  Its story is timeless, taken from Luke 12:15-21, the Parable of the Rich Young Ruler.  It is dedicated to the parents who strive to rescue their children from the materialistic focus of this time of year.  It is for those of you who desire to introduce your child to the person who is the “reason for this season”…Jesus Christ.

Celebrate with us in grateful praise

as we acknowledge His enabling, leading and direction.

                                   Princesses Joy, Grace, Faith, Hope and Charity

                                  Princesses Joy, Grace, Faith, Hope and Charity

In Sally Clarkson’s recent book “Ministry of Motherhood” she wrote:

“Children need the authentic strength that comes from the true foundation of a biblical worldview and a proper understanding of the real Christ who is worthy of their worship!  They need an unwavering moral and spiritual compass that will help them weather today’s storms and will guide them for the rest of their lives.  They also need to see what a real faith looks like when lived day in, day out, so they will have a pattern to follow.”

The Princess Parables have been written with God’s worldview that teaches biblical character, eternal values and is designed to cultivate a desire to be a child of the true King of Kings!  The Series is bible-based on a parable taught by the greatest teacher that ever lived.  They encompass character-emphasized prince and princesses and eternal values are targeted.  A Royal Christmas to Remember is written with these principles imposed onto every page. 

           Jeanna and I are blessed with the privilege of working together

 to make this Christmas book available to you.

Faithful is He who called us who has also done it…  I Thessalonians 5:24

Rejoice with us!

~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

St. Nicholas

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            My first Christmas after became a Christ follower, I was adamant about Santa.  I was so upset that the world focused on Santa instead of Jesus this time of year.  I mean that is what the REASON for the SEASON is, right?  So I took every ornament I had and every Christmas decoration with a Santa (even my mom’s) and I threw them away.  I was so determined to not have Santa taking over my Christmas because you do know that Santa spells SATAN if you unscramble the words, right?  I was very idealistic, and before you write me off or click off the page, let me tell you what I have experienced.

            So many of you know that Santa Claus was once a real person – a saint for that matter. He has many names: Kris Kringle, Sinterklaas, Noel Baba, Pere Noel, and of course, St. Nicolas.  The real Saint Nicolas lived in Myra (today’s Turkey) in the 3rd century.  He was a bishop who inherited a good sum of money.  He heard that a man’s three daughters did not have dowry to get married so he took it upon himself to bring a bag of money.  Legend has it he threw the bags of money in the windows twice for two of the daughters.   When it came the third daughter’s time, the windows were locked.  Instead, he threw it down the chimney and the money landed in a stocking.  He was so beloved throughout his town and in the church he became a saint.

            By the 12th century, women in France were making little gifts and leaving them on doorsteps for children signing them “from St. Nicholas”.  In America, they introduced Santa Claus in the 19th century as they were looking for traditions.  See, St. Nicholas’s birthday is Dec. 6th and it made sense, to them, to bring him into Christmas. 

            The problem is HE has become Christmas for most people today.  He has taken over the phrase “Believe” - which should refer to our Savior - and has changed St. Nicholas’s incredible story to stockings, chimneys, a belly like jelly, “naughty and nice” list, the North pole, elves and a flying sleigh.  Instead of the nativity scene invoking a sense of awe over the Savior and bringing us to our knees, we focus on “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house”. 

            The amazing thing is this St. Nicholas was an outspoken troublemaker in the Roman Empire.  And Emperor Diocletian (who was a really mean Caesar) wanted him to stop preaching Christianity.  St. Nick was jailed not once but twice, for spreading the news of Jesus.  His “true life” story is one of suffering, simplicity, generosity and humility.  And the nativity of Jesus is the same kind of story.

            If you would have asked me when I was 25, what we should do with Santa Claus, I would tell you to throw him out.  He should have no part of Christmas, but today I don’t agree.  BECAUSE of Santa Claus, America celebrates Christmas in a BIG way.  If it wasn’t for him, it would be a less than important holiday because the world does not know the Savior.  So I thank God that because of him, we are allowed, given the green light, to talk about Jesus.  And the make-believe story of Santa is good and pleasing and does fit this verse.  Now we are starting to celebrate even in November.  I am even okay with Christmas decoration before Thanksgiving because it gives me a longer time to talk about Jesus freely everywhere.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

            What do we as a family do with Santa?  We have taken on the tradition of St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6th (his birthday).  On the night before, the kids put their boots at under the tree at the front door.  In the morning, I fill them with oranges, chocolate and a present.  When the kids were younger, we got a picture with Santa. That night as part of Advent, we read the St. Nick book. We never wanted to lie about Santa being real so we just didn’t.  The rest of the season we focus on Jesus.  My kids are always amazed that people spend so much time on Santa during Christmas.  I always remind them that we are grateful for Santa because he keeps Christmas going.  Also it is a reminder to us how much people are looking for the Savior.

            The kids have liked the tradition as they get presents twice a month.  On Christmas morning, they do a scavenger hunt to find baby Jesus and put him in the manger.  We open three presents – like the wise men brought to Jesus.  We call them a Want, a Need and a Surprise.  We don’t really bring up Santa again except when we watch a fun movie.

             I am not saying give up Santa if he is entrenched in your celebration.  I am just giving you ideas to ponder.  I am asking you to ask yourself if Jesus has the full limelight in your home at this season. Is he front and center in your celebrating?  I think Satan likes to distract us with a lot of things, and he can use Santa just like anything else. If we are going to seize the season, we have to save Santa from taking over!

What are different ways you celebrate the season?

Won’t you join me this Sunday, Dec. 6th as we celebrate St. Nicholas Day?

~Jeanna Young

When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!