For the past couple of years, we've given teachers and coaches a plate of Christmas cookies as part of their Christmas gifts. Yesterday was our day to make the cookies. We went over to my parents' house and made a mess of my mom's kitchen. We made chocolate thumbprint cookies, peanut butter cup cookies, Greek butter cookies and stained glass window cookies. The stained glass window cookies are my oldest daughter's favorite cookie to make. They are sugar cookie cutouts with a hole in the center. You fill the hole with crushed up hard candy. When you bake them, the candy melts and leaves an opaque colored center in your cookie. My daughter loves how the powdered candy melts into something beautiful.
Our cutouts last night were gingerbread men and women, snowmen and stars. My daughter's job was to cut the holes and fill them with candy. As she was taking a tray to her station, she said "They're hungry, and I'm filling up their stomachs." She stopped, thought for a minute, then said, "No, it's more like they need Jesus, and I'm filling them up with Him."
I stopped for a moment and thought about what she had said. In a single sentence, my daughter had summed up the need for Christmas. We all have a need for Jesus, a hole in our lives that isn't full unless Jesus is a part of them. When we fill ourselves up with Jesus, when we let Him have control of our lives, He melts the powdered dust of our lives into something beautiful.
Just like our stained glass window cookies, we become a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." We may look the same on the outside, but on the inside our hearts are different. We need Christmas because nothing else in the world can fill that Jesus-sized hole we have in our hearts. We can try to fill it with activity, people and misguided beliefs, but only Jesus can take our broken, powdered lives and turn them into a thing of beauty.
At Christmas, it's easy to focus on the picture of Mary and Joseph and Jesus in the manger. The celebrations, the food and the family all add to our joy in Jesus' birth. But we need to remember we celebrate Christmas because God was meeting our need for Jesus. He sent Jesus so we could return to God without needing to make a sacrifice every time we sinned. Christmas is all about filling the hole in our lives.
Illustrate this idea for your kids. Help them understand that only Jesus can fill the "hole" in their lives.
- Give your kids a piece of paper with a circle cut in it. Give them different shapes to try to fit in the hole. Make it so they could put several pieces in the hole. Ask them to fill the whole up with the shapes. Talk about how while they can put things in the hole, none of them actually fit. Explain that those different shapes are like the things we try to put in our lives in place of Jesus. Talk about how God created us with a need for Jesus that only He can fill. When we try to put other things like accomplishments or friends or even other religions in that hole, they never really fill it.
- Make sugar cookie cutouts with your kids. You can find the recipe here. As you make them, talk about how we are like the cookies. Jesus fills the hole in our lives and makes something beautiful out of it, even when it seems our lives are crumbled and messy like the powdered candy.
This Christmas season, focus on letting Jesus fill the hole in your life. Ask Him to make something beautiful out of your life. Encourage your kids to remember that we have Christmas because we need Jesus.