Today, I have my very first guest post!  This post is from Katie, one of my fellow NHFC volunteers.  This post she wrote a few weeks ago was very insightful and inspiring.  I have thought of Christmas in a whole new way since reading it.  Enjoy!

Everyone who knows me tends to associate me with Christmas. I get random texts that usually go something like this… “I saw a blow up snowman at Lowes today and thought of you.” Or “I found Christmas cookie cutters at a yard sale and thought of you.” Or “You’d be so proud of me. I bought a Christmas present for someone, and it’s still only August.” It’s common knowledge that I adore Christmas and celebrate it year round. My iPhone has a Christmas countdown app on the main screen, so I will ALWAYS know how many days are left (crucial information). I listen to my Christmas music from January to December. I watch The Nativity Story in August. I sing “Oh Christmas Tree” in the shower. I leave several pieces of Christmas decor up in my house year round, simply because I can’t bear to put it away. My family believes I may have issues… I believe they may be right. But it’s ok… I’ve made my peace with it and embrace who I am :-)

The question is WHY do I love it so much? Most people get exhausted just thinking about Christmas and all the stress it brings (the shopping, the social schedule, the twisted lights, the excessive commercialism, and all sorts of other things that stress people out during the season). They wonder how a celebration of Joy, Hope, and Peace so quickly turns into stress, heartburn, and depression.

Christmas evokes powerful emotion from me for reasons that may come as an interesting surprise to some. When the enemy convinced Adam and Eve to turn away from God in the Garden of Eden, perfection shattered, and we were separated from God. The enemy danced in victory and caused all manner of carnage and destruction on earth and in the lives of all the people that God created and loves. But just at the right moment in time, Jesus came into the world in the most unlikely and shocking way to bring man back to God and bridge the gap. The element of surprise. A swift and decisive “checkmate” out of nowhere. A landed invasion. Nobody expected it. Certainly not the enemy. Christmas is a celebration of that amazing piece of history that shifted the course of humanity and offered hope where there was none before.

Decisive surprise victories draw visceral responses from us. When James Bond looks as though he has lost and suddenly delivers a surprise blow out of nowhere and walks off calmly into the distance as the enemy is seen stunned and plummeting to his doom, we fist pump the sky from our theater seats. When a chess player appears to have lost but suddenly moves a key piece into a decisive checkmate and cracks a slight smile knowing what he was doing all along, we get thrilled. When a football team calls a “Statue Of Liberty” trick play and wins the game to the shock of their opponent and the entire stadium of fans, we throw our bowl of chips in the air and excessively celebrate in our living rooms (Shout out to Boise State fans). When Frodo finally destroys the one ring and Sauron’s freaky eyeball goes wide with shock and utter surprise as his tower crumbles and topples in defeat, we rejoice. When a poker player lays down a surprise royal flush and laughs as a Mount Everest sized pile of chips moves from the opponent to him, we laugh along with him. These are all things that evoke wild delight, cheering, and hysteria out of us. They are things that make us leap out of our chair and scream “YESSS!!!!!!” (Or if you’re a calm, rational individual very unlike myself, you remain in your chair and clap in a dignified poised manner).

THAT is what Christmas means to me. And just as we throw our Superbowl parties, celebrate victories, and gleefully call up all our friends the moment a new Bond movie comes out, Christmas is a massive celebration to me. Sure, snowmen and reindeer have nothing to do with Jesus birth, but hey…. showering confetti and giant foam #1 gloves have nothing to do with the game of football either. It’s just all part of the ecstatic celebration. I do it in fun and as part of the joy of the victory and the ramifications of that victory.

I listen to The Nativity Story soundtrack a lot while I’m working in my home office, and by the time I get to “Is There A Place for Us” (otherwise known as Ring Christmas Bells. Track 17 if you care), as Jesus is just about to enter the world and change EVERYTHING, I’m usually up out of my office chair looking something like this…

REVERSE THE CURSE, BABY!!!!!

That’s what Christmas means to me. “The Lord your God… turned the curse into a blessing for you, because THE LORD YOUR GOD LOVES YOU!!” -Deut. 23:5

He wrote Himself into our story and became human and reversed the curse on humanity and gave us hope and life! The ultimate hero!

So what am I going to do to celebrate this Christmas?? Well, I’m going to host an orphan through New Horizons for Children and celebrate my absolutely favorite holiday by giving hope and joy to a child who has lived far too long without it. I am going to share the JOY and give it out freely instead of confining it within myself. I’m going to bring clothes, food, and HOPE to those in my local community who have none. You can tell me I’m overboard and to calm down, but you can’t stop the wellspring of victory celebration from spilling out of my heart and my smile. You can’t wipe the smile off the face of a fan whose team just won the Superbowl… and you can’t wipe the joy off my face either.

This Christmas, I encourage you to find what God created you to do and go do it with JOY in celebration and revelry that we are NO LONGER without hope! Perhaps you can join me in opening your home to an orphan and shower them with the true meaning of Christmas. Most of them have never even heard of this extraordinary love the Father has lavished on us!

70 days till Christmas…

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night…

If you would like to read more from Katie, you can visit her blog here – http://summer4anastasia.wordpress.com/

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