How would you respond if someone asked you to tell them the Christmas story?

There are a lot of places where you could begin. I would probably start with Mary, the devout Hebrew young woman who was visited by an angel and told that she would become pregnant with the Messiah.

Someone else might start with the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, who prophesied around 700 B.C. that a child would be born. He would be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace,” and His kingdom would have no end (Isaiah 9).

Others might tell the story of the shepherds in the fields who were visited by a host of angels and told to go see the Christ child. You could share about the wise men who saw the magnificent star and travelled from their foreign land to visit Jesus, the child, the King.

All of these answers are true, and they are part of the amazing story of the birth of Jesus.

However, have you ever thought about telling the Christmas story from Colossians?

It’s easy to picture Jesus as the humble baby born in a stable one night in Bethlehem. But Jesus is so much more than a baby. Let’s see what Colossians 1:15-19 says about Him:

1. He created the world.

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth… all things were created through him and for him” (Col. 1:16). You mean Jesus––tiny baby lying in the manger––was there when God made the world? Moreover, He created the world? Yes! That’s Jesus.

2. He’s the image of the invisible God.

“He is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). Sometimes it’s hard to picture God. He made the world, He controls everything, and He’s just… here? I can talk to Him? Because of Jesus, yes, we can. In fact, if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to walk with God, talk with God, or eat dinner with God, read about Jesus. He’s the [visible] image of the invisible God.

3. He was fully God.

We already touched on this in the paragraph above, but just to be clear, let’s include another verse from this passage: “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:19). Amazing! And pretty self-explanatory.

4. He reconciles all things to himself.

“… through him to reconcile to himself all things…” (Col. 1:19). Now this is exciting! Do you ever look around our world and think of how broken it is? So many people are hurting, grieving and searching for answers. Friends, the answer is Jesus. He restores, He reconciles ALL things. Bring your burdens to Him, and He will give you rest (Matt. 11:28-30).

5. He made peace through the blood of his cross.

“… making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:19). Wow! There isn’t a sentence or two that I could write to describe how incredible this gift of peace is for those who put their faith in Jesus. Like Isaiah said, He is indeed the “Prince of Peace.”

Well friends, this is a lot of information to take in. If I can summarize with one bit of encouragement, it’s this: seek Jesus. He is wonderful, loving and all that we ever need. And He wants to know you. That’s why He came to earth in a lowly stable two thousand years ago. That, is the Christmas story.


 

“Do you ever wish that we had a perfect Christmas tree?” Mom asked me a few years ago.

“ABSOLUTELY NOT ARE YOU CRAZY I LOVE OUR TREE OUR TREE IS PERFECT NO WAY!” I answered. Or something along those lines.

Let me step back and explain: Our tree is perfect, or at least it is in my eyes. Mom was referring to the kind of tree you see at the center of the mall or on display at Pottery Barn. The kind of tree that has a trendy color scheme, matching ornaments and a cohesive theme.

Our tree is what I call a “hodge podge collage” of everything. Oh, we have the gorgeous glass-blown crystals and the Pottery Barn glittery Santas. But we also have handmade macaroni preschool ornaments and the cheesy snowman that sings when you press the button on his piano.

I love our Christmas tree because each ornament tells a story. Let me share with you some of my favorite hodge podge ornaments and why they mean so much to me. Click through the photo gallery below (arrows on the sides), and read the descriptions underneath!

Arthur and D.W.

Arthur and D.W., my all-time favorites! “Arthur’s Christmas” was one of the books I could recite before I could read. Today when I read it to my cousin Caroline, I love the familiar cadance that easily flows from 20 years of long-term memory. This ornament features siblings Arthur and D.W. in their signature pj’s on the Read’s mint green living room rug. While they’re usually caught up in the latest sibling rivalry, Arthur and D.W. share a sweet moment eating sugar cookies on Christmas Eve.

Macaroni Ornaments

We’re pretty cute, if I do say so myself! I especially love my macaroni ornament because I’m smiling. If you come to my house and look through my early childhood photo albums, you’ll understand why this smile is so rare! I was a fairly serious child, and for some reason, I was hard-pressed to offer a photogenic smile. Andrew, on the other hand, could’ve been an OshKosh B’gosh model. What a cutie!

The Night Before Christmas

The best part about this ornament? It’s a real book! You can read the entire story in size 2.5 Times New Roman font. I always wanted Dad to read the book to us, a request that’s become increasingly more difficult with the passing years. It’s still fun to try!

Lakeside

I have always said that if I had to point to one physical place on the earth that I would call “home,” it would be Lakeside. Here is where I grew up, learned about Jesus and learned what it means to walk through life with Him as Lord. I could probably write a whole book about what Lakeside means to me, but I’ll just say this: I am eternally grateful for this family of faith who has played such a huge role in making me the person I am today. Thank you, Lord!

The Schoolhouse

I LOVE school! And I’m not kidding. In fact, only having one more semester of college is slightly alarming and definitely sad… Will YouTube tutorials be enough to further my education?! Anyway, Mom gave me this ornament the year I started kindergarten, and I love adding it to the tree each year.

Mom and Dad’s First Christmas

Aren’t they adorable? I especially love this ornament because our first house had green shutters just like these. Boy am I thankful for these two!

The Little Pianist

Mom got this ornament when she was a child. Every December, we pull out our Christmas duet book and attempt to clunk through a few holiday tunes. If you come visit us, you might convince us to play “Frosty the Snowman.” Expect to hear Mom’s disclaimer (“We haven’t played this in forever, so we’ll probably mess up!”) and my favorite saying to Mom, “SLOW DOWN!” All jokes aside, we both love the piano. Hopefully this ornament will pass on through the family line!

Baby’s 1st Christmas

Remember when I said I didn’t smile for pictures as a child? Yeah. This started day 1, literally! We always laugh at this photo and joke that I was ready to knock out anyone who got in my way. Don’t mess with Baby Rachel!

Big Ben

I love London. It’s incredible. Go if you haven’t been. It’s amazing. That’s all.

Andrew’s Cross

I’ve saved the best ornament for last: Andrew’s cross. When Andrew was a baby, he began having severe GI issues when he was only a few weeks old. The doctors had never seen a baby like this before, and the issue became very serious. Mom and Dad bought this ornament from the hospital gift shop during December. They wanted a reminder that God was in control, sovereign over the situation and holding little Andrew in His hands. Later, Andrew had gallbladder surgery at 10 weeks old, and he has been healthy ever since. This ornament reminds us of God’s amazing faithfulness and goodness, and we thank Him for giving us Andrew. Only Andrew can put this ornament on the tree!

 

And that, my friends, is why I love my Christmas tree. I wish you and your families a Messy Merry Christmas! Now go make some hodge podge collage memories of your own!


 

Santa Claus Quiz

Test your knowledge on the one and only SANTAAAAAAAA! (Did you imagine Buddy the Elf screaming that in a Gimbel’s department store? I hope so!) Take this quiz to learn about Santa’s origin, different countries’ traditions and more! All of the information from this quiz is from HISTORY.com. Click on the link to learn more once you’ve finished the quiz!

It’s no secret that Christmas is my favorite time of the year! Unfortunately, we only have 20 more days where it’s socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music. I’ve put together a playlist entitled “Mix & Match Christmas” with some of my favorite, lesser-known Christmas songs. While these songs may not be top 20 on the radio, they are fantastic and well-deserving of a download! Enjoy!