Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Cup of Christmas COCOA

I absolutely love Christmas. My family always pokes fun at me because the day after Halloween, I begin playing my twenty five Christmas CD’s, and start counting down the days that my girls and I can enjoy our annual tradition of visiting the Southern Christmas Show, including the preview night and several repeat visits I am one of those women who sets out one cornucopia for the month of November, but the day after thanksgiving, pulls out 25 boxes and bags, and decorates every square inch of my house.

Then while I am recuperating from my decorating frenzy, my spirit soon begins to yearn for the smells of cinnamon and oranges and scented candles; my eyes can’t wait to see the beautiful gold, green and red decorations glistening on every corner and in every store; I look forward to the shopping, holiday gatherings, and wrapping presents. I admit it – I am a Christmas-aholic. I love the Christmas season!

Is it wrong to love the Christmas season so much? Absolutely not - as long I keep myself grounded in my faith, and don’t forget that the most exciting part of Christmas, is CHRIST!

Despite my passion for the holiday traditions and treasures, I try to never lose sight that this month is really all about a birthday party! A birthday party to celebrate the most special gift ever known to man – the birth of Jesus, and God is the ultimate gift giver with this gift of His Son.

One really important thing I didn’t mention about the holiday season yet but that I adore, is hot cocoa. Who doesn’t feel warm, snuggly and loved while sipping on a steaming cup of cocoa with marshmallows or whip cream piled on top! Cocoa, or hot chocolate as us southerners like to call it, is usually enjoyed during times of happiness, warmth, and family, and this word can also be used to help us remember the important aspects of Christmas. COCOA can act as a reminder of the happiness and warmth we can enjoy due to being a part of God’s family.

Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ is the reason for the season. Remember to spend as much time searching for God’s truth, as you do searching for that perfect gift. Christ IS Christmas – there is no Christmas without Christ. During this season, share the gift that Christ has given with you someone else by expressions of love.

1 Peter 3:3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such a braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Do you spend more time fretting over whether or not your house could be featured in the holiday edition of Southern Living, or whether or not your inner spirits are adorned with God’s love and the compassion and desire to give to those in need? Try to put a stronger focus on spending time with God this holiday season, and exhibit a heart that sparkles and shines for Him alone.

Proverbs 15:13 A happy heart makes a face look cheerful. But a sad heart produces a broken spirit.

As the gift list grows, the budgeted funds for those gifts decreases, the party dates fill the calendar and your kids all need help with school functions, it is easy to get discouraged. And although Christmas is meant to be a joyous season, many people also struggle during the holidays with depression and discouragement. Despite the reason that you may feel discouraged during this time of year, focus on how much you are loved as a dear and precious child of God. The holidays are merely a season, but God’s love and compassion for His children is permanent. Now there is something to celebrate!

Matthew 2:10 –12 The shepherds saw the star, and they were overjoyed – they were overcome with delight, awe, motivation, encouragement, love for God – they were overwhelmed with the gift of life.

Think of a time when you were overjoyed- the birth of a child, a graduation, a wedding, a beautiful sunrise, sparkling white beaches, a baptism. Being overjoyed means the feeling of happiness is so overwhelming, that tears fill your eyes, you have a lump in your throat, and your heart is beating rapidly. For many Christmas-aholics, we are overjoyed when we kick off the holiday season, but overwhelmed by the middle of the month! Try to find ways to remind yourself each day of December to be thankful for the birth of our Savior and overwhelmed by the blessings that have been bestowed upon you, rather than becoming overwhelmed with the holiday to-do lists or personal issues.

Jude :2 ..mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

Whenever I think of Christmas morning, from my childhood to the present, the word ABUNDANCE comes to mind. As soon as the sun rises on December 25th, until it sets in the evening, we are bombarded with an abundance of presents, candy, baked goods, fruit, delectable meals and too much caloric intake. But these things are temporary… what we really yearn for is the abundant life promised to us in God’s word. Our true heart’s desire is for mercy, peace and love, not just on Christmas day, but every day throughout each year.

As you prepare for your holiday season, pull all your decorations out of the attic and dust off your Christmas CD’s, stay focused on the true meaning of our traditions – CHRIST. Decorate your home with the love of Christ, cheerfully celebrate the joy of Christ in your heart, be overjoyed and not overwhelmed, and strive for spiritual abundance rather than seasonal abundance. The next time you are in the mood for a hot cup of steaming cocoa, I pray that you will be reminded of these five important things, and as the warmth of the cocoa trickles down your throat, you will allow the warmth of God’s love to pour into your heart.

SPECIAL NOTE! I hope you will visit my blog each day this month! I am going to be sharing some great recipes and Christmas ideas and devotions! Merry Christmas!

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A Simple Country Girl said...

Thank you for this post. I love how you used COCOA as a way to keep our focus this Christmas season.

I know we have never met, except for by the grace of God leading me to your blog, but I would like to officially double dog, lick the frozen flag pole dare ya! Okay, actually it extends to both you and your readers.

I don't know if this is proper blogging etiquette or not, so do forgive me if I am a little rough around the cyberland edges with my dare.

If you desire to to the dare, please stop by my blog today...

A Simple Country Girl (aka Darlene)

Joyful said...

Well, I think I need to go make myself a cup of Cocoa and be reminded of the truth each letter holds.

Drinking in His love and filled with His warmth,

Haroldly Taveras said...

Wow Tracie....

you never cease to amaze me with the way you take simple things and turn them into God-oriented things...its a challenge for my life to do just the same.

May God bless and keep you and yours always.