Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: One year, Kim Wier and her husband decided Christmas would be a little different.

Kim Wier: What we did is we called the kids together and we said, "Here's what we're going to do. You're each going to do your own shopping. Mom's not going to do it anymore. But it's not about how much you can spend. It's about how well do you know your family and how much can you give that would inspire them to know that they're appreciated?"

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, November 29. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, I trust that you had a really blessed Thanksgiving celebration and that you were able to take time to reflect on the goodness and the mercies of the Lord, the benefits and the blessings that you've received from Him and from others, and that you are continuing to have a grateful heart.

Now, if you've been in any of the stores, by now you know that Christmas is right ahead and already the stores and the advertisements and everything are focusing on Christmas.

And I don't know if you're one of those people who perhaps is feeling a little sense of dread about this holiday season--so much to do, so many things on the schedule, so much hustle and bustle and busyness.

And every year we say that we don't want to be in bondage to the commercialism of a secular view of Christmas. We want to savor the season, and then it seems the season takes us by storm and all our good intentions somehow get lost really easily.

So we want to talk this week with two women who are here to help us know how we can redeem the Christmas season and get back to its real purpose and an understanding of what makes Christmas special.

Kim Wier and Pam McCune have written a book called Redeeming the Season: Simple Ideas for a Memorable and Meaningful Christmas. Kim and Pam, welcome to Revive Our Hearts. Thanks for joining us today.

Kim and Pam: It's a great joy for us to be here. Definitely.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I think one of the words I like most in your subtitle is the word "simple. " Simple ideas for a memorable and a meaningful Christmas. This book is chockful of ideas, but you're not saying that we need to do all these things or even try to in order to be successful at celebrating Christmas.

Pam McCune: Exactly, do not try all of these opportunities. If so, you'll have to seek professional help.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That's exactly what some of us do need after the Christmas holidays, and that's what we're going to try to avoid by talking about how we can redeem the season.

One of the things I love about your book, Kim and Pam is that you start at the Scripture and say, "Let's go to the Word of God, as we ought to do with every area of our lives, and say, 'What does the Scripture have to tell us about how to celebrate the birth of Christ in a meaningful way.'" And as you studied the Scripture and began to think about Christmas for your own families, what kind of insight did you get from the Word that was helpful to you?

Kim Wier: Well, I have to tell you--back up a little bit-because probably all of you listening will have the same feeling. We got to that place of seeking out God's Word because we failed miserably at doing it our own way.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: There was some desperation there!

Kim Wier: That's right. We had done it the world's way which is just buy, buy, buy--put a really good card on top, and surely you'll have a meaningful Christmas. Well, anybody who has tried that, Nancy, knows that you fail miserably at it because when everything is thrown out--all the packages and bows, and the things start to break--there went your Christmas if all of it was wrapped up in bows and ribbon.

And so when we had failed and we had tried our way and nothing was memorable or meaningful, we did go to God's Word. And what we found was that the first Christmas was built around really three different areas, and they are three areas that we can still focus on today.

One of those areas was that the very first Christmas was focused on a family, a family set apart for God's purposes. Mary was this teenage girl who had plans of her own. And yet when God interrupts her life and says, "You are going to be the one who bears the Son of God," [Luke 1:31 paraphrased] she says, "Let it be to me as you have said" [Luke 1:38 paraphrased].

And Joseph, who shockingly finds out that his bride-to-be, his betrothed, is now carrying a baby that he didn't know about, he contemplates divorce. But when God interrupts his life and says [Matthew 1:20 paraphrased], "Now this is my plan," he says, "I know there will be consequences. But I'm willing to do what You say." And he immediately takes Mary [Matthew 1:24 paraphrased].

And so the very first Christmas was built around the decision to let a family be set apart for God's purposes.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And I love the fact that it wasn't just an all put-together family, this ideal picture, because most of our listeners are saying, "I don't come from this great ideal family and for me the Christmas season has some hurt, some pain associated with it." But we're saying there can be meaningful celebration whatever family season you're in.

Kim Wier: That's what Mary and Joseph did. They didn't wait for the outcome. Okay, once we all get together and everything settles down and people forget that there was this surprise pregnancy, then we're going to be in God's will. They said yes to God in that circumstance, and we can all say yes to God no matter what personal circumstance we're in.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And isn't it wonderful, and so much the message of that first Christmas. That's where God meets us--right where we are-- not when we get our lives put back together, but right where we are in our failure, in our inadequacy, in our weakness, in our pain, in our need. That's where Christ comes and says, "I have grace for you." And that really is the message of Christmas.

Family focusing on family. We'll come back to that whole concept of how we can spend meaningful family time, but Pam, you said there were three biblical aspects of celebrating Christmas. Family is one. What are the other two?

Pam McCune: When we looked at the first Christmas, we also saw that it centered around a message. Before the angel ever appeared to Mary, there was a child that came to earth, John, and his whole purpose was to tell people about Jesus, about the coming Messiah, to proclaim that message. And we today still can share messages and that it's not just, "Macys is having a sale."

There are messages all around us, but we can share the message of the Savior.

Kim Wier: And then the final one, Nancy, is the idea of worship. At the very first Christmas there was this little bitty baby, this baby who wasn't capable of doing anything great and miraculous, instead He was just there. And we love that when you look at Scripture, you find out that God sent different people to come and to worship Him.

How did they know He was Messiah? That was part of God's plan. It wasn't because He had done miracles or done wise teaching--He was a baby. It's because of who He was, not what He had done. And we can still worship Him for that reason, not for what He's done for us, but simply because He is worthy.

And so part of Christmas really needs to be to focus on that sense of worshipping Him for His worthiness.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: He is God. And that's what we want to challenge our listeners to do, not only this week, but throughout this entire season is to focus on family relationships, to focus on how to reach out and minister to others (we'll talk about that this week) and then, above all, to make this a season of savoring Christ for who He is, for what He has done.

You know, I want to get through this season not just having survived but having a fresh sense of the wonder of who Christ is and what He has done for us. So, we'll talk this week about how to worship.

Now, let's come back to this thing of family relationship. Your children are at different ages, different seasons, from younger into the teenage years. What are some of the things that you have found are helpful to make sure that your family is getting quality time together during the Christmas season? Get us started, Kim.

Kim Wier: One of the things that really has helped us is the idea of bringing a freshness to the idea of gift giving. One of the things that I used to do was I used to buy all the gifts for our family. Like, if my son Chase was going to give something to his sister, I'd go buy it, put a tag on it, wrap it and say, "Okay, Chase, you're giving Hannah a doll. When she opens it, just say you're welcome."

One year, as all the packages were under the tree--it was one of those rare occasions I actually finished before Christmas Eve--and my son came to rifle through the packages, as children always do, and said, "Mom, where's what I'm going to give to Hannah?"

Well, in my all hurry I had forgotten to do their shopping. And I told my husband, "I can't buy one more gift. I am totally maxed out on creativity." And because of that little flaw, we came up with the idea of the $20 treasure hunt, and it turned out to be brilliant beyond what we actually had planned.

What we did is we called the kids together and we said, "Here's what we're going to do. You're each going to do your own shopping. Mom's not going to do it anymore. But it's not about much you can spend. It's about how well do you know your family, and how much can you give that would inspire them to know that they're appreciated?"

So each child got $20. Now that $20 had to be spent on four separate people. That's an average of $5. We weren't going to be buying expensive gifts. And we said, "Okay, we're all shopping together." Now the fun of that is we had to start sneaking through aisles because you're buying and the people are in the store. Well, that was part of the fun.

The treasure wasn't that you were going to find something expensive, but that you were going to discover the treasure of giving to others.

Now, I just remember my daughter coming to me in the store saying, "Now Mom, remember that suitcase you were going to buy, don't get it because somebody might want to buy it for you."

Now there was a suitcase at this store that she knew I wanted, but it was $20 and I, of course, didn't want her spending her whole budget on me so I said, "You know, that's great, but there are lots of other things I like. Let me show you." I showed her a bowl for $1.25, a picture frame for a couple of dollars and said these are things I really, really wanted.

When I got home, she was already hidden away in her bedroom wrapping presents. And as I'm sitting around the tree, out she comes dragging a suitcase-shaped gift. And she says to me, "You'll never guess what I bought you!" And she runs away and in a little while comes back carrying a bowl-shaped gift and she said, "You'll never guess what I bought you!"

She had spent her entire budget on one gift and then spent two months of her own allowance for everybody else.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And received so much joy out of it.

Kim Wier: And on Christmas morning, they were excited to get gifts. But I can tell you honestly that they were so much more excited to watch the person they gave to open the gift. And the fun thing is that we learned the truth of Scripture.

In Proverbs 11:25 it says, "The one who waters others, will himself be watered." And my children were so watered and they received a blessing of giving to others. And it was a wonderful lesson for all of us. And we've kept that tradition alive every year since.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What a great way, Kim, to teach your children the joy of giving. And I hope that our listeners will get a copy of Redeeming the Season. Now these next few weeks provide an incredible opportunity to teach children about giving and to develop some godly traditions and ultimately to glorify Christ in a special way during the Christmas season.

Leslie Basham: You can order a copy of Redeeming the Seasonby Kim Wier and Pam McCune by calling us at 1-800-569-5959. That's 1-800-569-5959 or go on-line to ReviveOurHearts.com.

When you contact us, you have an opportunity to help us in a special way.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That's right, Leslie. You know, as we close the program today, Kim Wier reminded us of the joy that comes from giving. There's a friend of Revive Our Hearts who wants to give generously to this ministry, but they want to multiply the joy that they get from giving by encouraging others to give too.

So they've agreed for the third year in a row now to match every donation that our listeners make between now and December 31 up to $250,000. That's a great challenge! And it means that if you give $100 to this ministry over the next month, it will turn into $200 to help us reach more women with the truth of God's Word.

This is really a crucial opportunity as we prepare for ministry in 2005, and our team and I are praying that we can meet and even surpass this $250,000 matching challenge.

Leslie Basham: Tomorrow, we'll hear some practical ideas on how we can comfort others during the Christmas season.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I hope you can join us for that. But I think it would be meaningful right now, as we start into this pre-Christmas season, if we would just stop and pray and consecrate these next several weeks to the Lord and ask Him to show us how to savor this season and to get from it all that He intended. So, let's pray together.

Father, we do pause in the busyness of our daily lives right now to just thank You for Jesus, to thank You for the privilege of celebrating each year the birth of our Savior and all that He means to us--the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, Lord, over these next weeks between now and Christmas, would You help our focus to be where You want it to be, [help us] to be real worshippers, to honor You, to train our children how to love and honor You and know You better through this season.

So, Lord, we give You glory and ask that You would have Your way in each of our hearts over these next days. I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

Thank you, Susie, for preparing today's Revive Our Hearts for the Internet.

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