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The Real Wonder of Christmas

My childhood joy during Christmas was an invitation God was writing on my heart—He wanted me to experience something far greater.

By Barbara Rainey

Christmas is about Love.

For God is Love, unchanging, everlasting,

abounding, steadfast love that never ceases.

Love beyond comprehension, enduring forever.

He set His heart in love on me.

Great in love. Rich in kindness.

Rich in patience toward us.

Love never fails.

As a child, I delighted in every aspect of the holiday season—the music, the decorations, the gift-giving, and even the weather. Through my eyes, everything in our small Midwest town was touched by Christmas wonder, from the tidy homes with manger scenes on the lawns to schools, churches, and businesses displaying colorful lights and candles in their frosted windows. It was all magical.

With the first cold spell every October, I began to anticipate the transformation of the Christmas season to come. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive and I always wanted it to last forever.

As I grew up, my mother allowed me to take over more of the decorating and preparations at home. Perhaps she secretly enjoyed my eagerness, and the freedom it gave her to do other things.

My festive creations spread from our simple tree and manger scene to boughs of greenery in the front hall and on the fireplace mantel, candles and Santas and ribbons on tabletops, a special floral arrangement on the dining room table, and of course, plates of our favorite cookies all cut in the shapes of snowmen, Santa Claus, angels, and stars, and sprinkled with red and green sugars. In my eyes, nothing our family did the rest of the year compared to our preparations for Christmas.

Looking back, I see that the wonderment of my childhood Christmases, and the longing I felt to keep it with me forever, was an invitation God was writing on my heart. He wanted me to experience something far greater than my present-tense life. There was so much more to discover about this babe in the manger and the love that had sent Him. Christmas really could last forever.

God was calling me every year at Christmas.

He still speaks and invites us to Himself. Such is the nature of God’s love. He is ever pursuing, and always ready to receive us.

Christmas is about love, because God is love.

Excerpted from When Christmas Came by Barbara Rainey. Copyright © Barbara Rainey. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission. Published by FamilyLife Publishing, Little Rock, AR

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