Friday, December 25, 2009

Keep the Spirit of Christmas Alive in Your Hearts

Christmas Day is almost over! However, it is just the day that is over, not the true spirit of the day and the season. I am reminded of the words Charles Dickens had Scrooge say when the great redemptive change came over him--"I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year." 

We should all try to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in our hearts and lives the other 364 days of the year also. That should not be hard if we have the true spirit of Christmas dwelling within us, and that is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He came, and we celebrate His birth one day out of the year. However, He came to bring us joy and abundant life, and He didn't offer that to us for just one day, but for all eternity.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas is here!

Just the other day it was September 26, and we were preparing to receive our first group of the 2009 season. Now it is December 22, and we wonder where the time has gone. We've been busy! Nearly 1,200 people have toured the house since that opening day. One of our guests was the 65,000th visitor to the Christmas House. That's a lot of people isn't it? We are so grateful that people keep coming to see us. Many are return visitors from past seasons, and that is a real compliment. A few are returning for a visit this season. At least when they come another year, they are seeing all new decorations and hearing new stories and songs. However, it really says a lot to us when they come back a few weeks later and want to experience the same tour again. Most who do this bring friends or family with whom they wish to share the experience of a tour of The Christmas House, so we have a policy about return visits within the same season (between opening in Sept. and closing at the end of March), and that policy is free admission for the person returning. So, you only have to pay once each season. We receive e-mails and notes from visitors after their tours of The Christmas House. It is so encouraging to the three of us to hear from people about how much they enjoyed their visits to our home. We especially love the positive comments about our sharing of the Gospel and the true meaning of Christmas. As I tell all groups, we love Santa, reindeer, and all the magical things that go into making Christmas the most special time of the year, but for us, Jesus is the real reason we celebrate! It is our prayer for each of you that this Christmas your eyes of faith will see His beauty, behold His glory, and that you will feel His love--a love beyond all measure. Remember, it is a love that was willing to suffer an agonizingly painful death so that our sins could be forgiven with no pain on our part as long as we know the Savior personally and serve Him. We should pay the penalty for our sin, but Jesus did it for us on the cross. As you celebrate the Birth, don't forget to let the Cross be a part it. A line from one of my favorite Christmas poems says, "Yet behind His humble manger stood an old rugged cross!" He knew about that cross when He left Heaven to come to earth, and he did not hesitate. It was all because of His love for us. Let that love fill your lives and overflow on to others this Christmas and throughout the coming year.