The kids have Adore Him playing and they’re singing along and off key.
And the house wafts of sugar cookies and anticipation and names of neighbors to bless!
“You done drawing now, Mama?”
Kai’s leaning hard over my shoulder. “Can we just call it done?” And I’m thinking so, and we cut out this little hand drawn cookie envelope template. Shalom and Levi have angel and nativity cookie cutters all over the table.
And Kai cuts out these envelopes for each cookie. And Shalom slides in cookies shaped like angels and stars and a wee silhouette of that God-Baby Who came to the manger & the Cross & offers Himself as a Savior for the world — and who doesn’t need the gift of Him most, again and again?
It’s written right there on the liner for every cookie envelope:
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son,
and they will call Him
which means “God with us” ”
God with us — is the only comfort for the wounds within us.
Kai looks up from his cutting out of the verse — “Mom? God really came, didn’t He?”
And I nod — He came.
He gave up the heavens who were not even large enough to contain Him and lets Himself be held in a hand.
He forsook the boundlessness of space and confined Himself to skin and He gave up the starfields and took on shape and wore the bones.
He gave up the River of the water of Life that flows from His Throne Room to float the nine months on the amniotic waters. And He who carved the edges of the Cosmos, He curved Himself into fetal ball in the dark, tethered Himself to the uterine wall of a virgin, and lets His cells divide, light all splitting white.
“Yeah, Kai,” I fold one of the cookie templates, “The story of Christmas is about a baby who came — for the greatest give-away ever. To be the Gift.”
This is what I tell the kids making up Christmas packages for the neighbors — He came, love come down.
Love that gave — but not to those who loved Him.
Love that gave — but not to those who could give back.
Love that gave — to those who were the poor, the bankrupt, the enemies.
Love that gave even to the likes of us. “And I don’t know… ” I am telling the story again now to me.
“Who will give away, and with their lives? Why is the world hungry when God’s people have bread? Are bread? What is there more to be in this life than to be bread for another man?”
And Hope looks up from the oven. “Remember, Mama?” She turns off the timer. “We’re calling Christmas the Greatest Give-Aways — and Jesus is the Gift!”
That’s really all we have to get ready for Christmas – our hearts. We need to get our hearts ready to welcome Jesus into every part of our lives.
And guess how you best get your heart ready for Jesus? Come to Him just as you are.
God gives Himself as the greatest Gift, and He doesn’t keep any truly good thing from you. Because the greatest things aren’t ever things!
God never, ever withholds the greatest Gift from you – Jesus!
Jesus is all good, and He is all yours, and this is always your miracle – your greatest Gift.
Jesus is the Gift and we keep giving Him away, down the road and around the corner and the world — He is the best Christmas to give — because when we share Christ, we most have Him.
And on the backside of that little verse liner, we write a Christmas note to our neighbors and tape up the back of the little cookie envelope — and tuck The Greatest Gift cookie envelope in with a little love-something for the neighbors — a hot chocolate mix, a bag of coffee, a good book, a little candle, a loaf of bread.
“Look at how many cookies we have got done now!” Kai grins from the table.
And Shalom, she counts a bit giddy, this giving away that gives the Great Gift...
Weary mamas? Wound-up kids? This December? Could be The Greatest Christmas! This is the relief you’ve always wanted for your Christmas.
Open this book & your Christmas will begin where you never expected — and it will end where you only dreamed.
A book that is like your own larger-than-life Advent Calendar, opening up to 25 wondrous stories that tell the family tree of Jesus, from Creation to His Coming.
Because if we want our Christmas tree to really stand full of wonder & real meaning? The tree we need to understand & be astonished by —- is the wonder of the family tree of Jesus! Because this is your family’s real family tree, your real story.
Each day’s story has its very own ornament, one for each day of Advent — all unwrapping a bit more of a story that’s far better than the greatest fairy tale you’ve ever read —- because this story is all true. So come Christmas day — your kids, and your Christmas tree with all 25 ornaments, will be telling the full love story of Jesus’ coming, right from the very beginning!
Full colour, vibrant 2 page spreads. Romping, shimmering words — for every kid from ages 4- 94.
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What better gift to give the whole family this Christmas — than the wonder of the full love story of Jesus?
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Ann Voskamp is a farmer’s wife and homeschooling mother to 6 children. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling book One Thousand Gifts.
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