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Read Luke 2:1-19

When we bought our house seven years ago, there was a towel holder by the sink in the shape of a cow’s head. It hung there until a few months ago when I replaced it with one I made by repurposing some old kitchen tools. I commented to my husband that our teenage daughter, who is not a fan of repurposing junk, had rolled her eyes when she saw it.

“I think it looks good, honey,” Paul responded, opening the fridge to look for something to eat.

“Thanks,” I said. “I like it better than the cow’s head.”

At this, Paul, who is no stranger to the kitchen, looked at me in surprise and asked, “What cow’s head?”

Sometimes things can become so familiar that we no longer see them. If you’re like me, you’ve heard and read the story of Christ’s birth, recorded in Luke and Matthew, many times. Maybe it has become comfortably familiar. Mary riding on a donkey, no room at the inn, shepherds in the fields, wisemen from the east….

When I was in kindergarten, I got to take part in playing out the Christmas drama. All dressed up with a powdered face and cardboard wings, I sang in the angel choir. When my daughter was in second grade, I draped her in fabric so she could portray Mary in her school play. I’ve set up a variety of manger scenes through the years, carefully posing little figures made of plastic, glass, wood, or clay. And every time I read the King James Version of Luke’s account of the blessed event, I hear the voice of Linus saying, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Yes, for me, the Christmas story is wrapped in warm fuzzies and tied up with a big red bow.

For Mary, though, things were not so neat and tidy. She didn’t carefully cover her head with an old sheet and strike a holy pose so Joseph could take a picture and post it on Instagram. Things were real, and wild, and wooly, and seemingly one step away from disaster, as she and Joseph searched for a place for Christ to be born.

And yet, in the midst of circumstances her head could not understand, Mary pondered in her heart what God was doing, and she welcomed Him into the world He created- a world filled with real people, real problems, and real pain. This Christmas, I want to stop and ponder, as Mary did, the enormity of what happened on that long ago night when Emmanuel- “God with us”- came to dwell among us.


Questions for Discussion:

How can we keep the true meaning of Christmas alive in our hearts?

Traditions are important in passing on our faith. What are some Christmas traditions that you and your family observe?

Sometimes traditions become so familiar that we seem to be doing them just for tradition’s sake. What are some ways we can keep things fresh?

Is it difficult for you to quiet your mind and ponder what God has done, and what He is currently doing, in your life? If so, what seems to be the biggest obstacle? What might you change in the coming year to help with that?



n>Do you have any tips for helping children develop a love of giving and serving while enjoying the traditions of Christmas?



nt-sizen� 0t��Xe�ght:115%’>Zechariah responded to God’s gift with a song of praise. What are some ways we can remind ourselves to keep thankful hearts all year in light of God’s great love demonstrated in the gift of His Son?



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