Taking down Christmas decorations is always bitter sweet for me. I love the anticipation and then Celebration of Jesus’ arrival to earth. In our house we don’t take decorations or the tree down until Epiphany (Jan. 6) or later after the Kings come to visit Jesus. So over the years I have set a tradition – if only my own – of transforming some of the Christmas décor into Valentines decorations. My mother-in-law gave us a bunch of unbreakable heart ornaments when our children were young so those move from the tree to some red berry wreaths that I can’t quite take down yet. I also hang other hearts strategically around the house for members of the family to see in their everyday routines. I suppose I subconsciously linked Christmas and the gifts of the Christ child to the upcoming celebration of our love for one another in the Valentine rituals so big in this country.
This year, I want to move beyond just a subconscious linking to an intentional one. I want to talk about how the gift Christ brought at Christmas is a gift to bring transformation in our lives for the whole year – to talk about it at home in my family and with my friends and here in this blog with you.
It is so appropriate that the sermon series this New Year, that will take us to Lent, is from the book of 1 John. Eugene Peterson in his introduction to the letters written by John in The Message writes:
The two most difficult things to get straight in life are love and God. More often than not, the mess people make of their lives can be traced to failure or stupidity or meanness in one or both of these areas….
…(In the letters by John) Jesus, the Messiah, is the focus: Jesus provides the full and true understanding of God; Jesus shows us the mature working-out of love. In Jesus, God and love are linked accurately, intricately, and indissolubly.
I don’t know about you but I would really like to get love and God straight in my life and in our family life. This blog will follow the sermon series and the focus on Jesus in the quest to get love and God linked accurately in our lives.
In the opening verses of 1 John, the author sets the stage for why he is writing – because the “The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes” (The Message) This week read through 1 John 1 multiple times and let it sink in. Invite your children to look and watch for the Word of life to appear before their eyes. Take time while riding in the car or at the table, before bed, etc. to share how they have seen the Word Jesus appear to them. The practice of noticing Jesus is a great way to start the year. Don’t forget to share what you noticed too with your family and friends for verse 4 says in sharing your joy will double!
May your joy double this week!