The Johnsons had an exciting holiday weekend as we visited with out-of-town friends, enjoyed a time of fellowship/worship with our church body, opened presents as a family, and celebrated Christmas with dear friends from NAOBC.
Raymond and I discussed quite a bit this year about what we want Christmas to look like for the Johnson family – what kind of traditions we want to start setting (Raymond has been thinking a lot about how to establish a godly family legacy) as well as how we want the day to unfold so that the focus of our time together is celebrating the birth of our Savior rather than celebrating the materialism of presents.
Even though Abigail is only about 4 months old and she won’t remember anything about this Christmas (or the next few Christmases), we want to begin this year teaching her (and, later, our other children) about contentment in the provision of our Lord, salvation by faith in Christ, and being a giver rather than a receiver.
In the future, we intend on taking very active steps to encourage a giving attitude and a grateful demeanor during Christmas time. For instance, we will limit the number of gifts our children receive from us and other family. I like the idea of giving three gifts to each child that satisfy each of the following areas: educational/books, toys, and clothing. We will also participate in something like Angel Tree, where we and our children will either pick out gifts for or give our gently-used possessions to a family in need. Raymond and I do not want to foster an atmosphere of possessiveness that discourages our children from being able to joyfully give to somebody who is less fortunate than ourselves. We do not want to have a family of hoarders where we have so much stuff that we don’t use it all or even know what we have.
So here is what our Christmas looked like this year:
We began our day with a big breakfast at a reasonable time (8 am) rather than waking up before the sun in order to ravenously unwrap our presents. While Abigail took her first nap of the day Raymond and I visited with a college student who joined us for breakfast and we spent time reading our Bibles and talking about Christmas and some of the things that I’m writing about in this post. We also used this time to call our family in MS and AL to wish them a Merry Christmas. When Abigail woke up around 11 am we read Luke’s account of the birth of Christ and had a time of prayer with her and we talked to her about Christmas and the family who loves her so much that they sent presents to her. We spent the next hour opening Abigail’s presents and then our own (and taking pictures of course!).
After cleaning up our mess (and there was a big one!), we headed over to the Hawkins’ home to eat lunch and spend the rest of the day with their family and the De La Garzas. Whether we’re traveling to family or spending Christmas in our city of residence, we always want it to be a time of fellowship and celebration rather than isolation. The reason we are able to celebrate with people who are not part of our immediate family is because of the covenant fellowship that creates familial relationships through the precious blood of Christ.
Here are some pictures from our Christmas activities: