this is guest post two of three from my dear friend, nancy duggin.  (read post one of three HERE.) she has such a heart for parents, children, and families as a whole to experience the reality of Jesus in every day life.  i look forward to how she will challenge us all as we prepare to celebrate Christmas 2013. 

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The mental image we have of God and of Christmas has everything to do with how we celebrate.  For those who know and love Him, it’s the time to focus on Jesus’ birthday with a heart-felt desire to celebrate Christmas in a way that honors The Messiah—our Messiah.

Throughout history, God has used ordinary, unqualified people through whom He accomplished extreme feats. So I know He can use us, if we are willing.

As we consider experiencing an extreme Christmas filled with more blessings than we could ever imagine, I suggest we begin by decorating our hearts before we decorate our homes and by spreading the fragrance of Christ before any other fragrances. This would be extreme in the eyes of the world and, sadly, in the lives of many Christ followers because a Christ-honoring Christmas may have never been a priority in years past.

How do we decorate our hearts before our homes? I Peter 3:15 tells us “but in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks us to account for the hope that is in us but do it courteously and respectfully. (Amplified Bible) The entire world would experience an extreme Christmas, if believers were truly purposeful in and lived out the hope within them. How would that kind of ‘habit of heart’ change our attitudes about shopping, how we spend our time, and how we guard and measure every word that comes from our mouths this season—No more wishing the season were over, or complaining about gifts to be given, or how crowded the stores are and how expensive everything is.

An extreme Christmas would involve a total refocus for most of us—one that would center on celebrating the birth of the Messiah by giving to and serving others in His name. We need a reality check and a heart check!

After decorating our hearts, let’s ask God to fill us with the desire to spread His wonderful fragrance. “But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere. For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which exhales] unto God, [discernible alike] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. I Corinthians 2:14-15 (Amplified Bible) Does your heart cry out for Him to spread His fragrance in you, and then into the world through your actions and deeds?

Our extreme Christmas will come from our desire to seek and know God’s heart, from our thirst for Him and our desperation for Him. Consider the verses below. Do they give you insight concerning what He might desire us to give as gifts, to His Son, this season?

Proverbs 11:30 The seeds of a good deeds become a tree of life.

Colossians 2:7 Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.

Titus 2:7 Be an example . . . by doing good works of every kind.

I Timothy 6:18 Be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.

Our extreme Christmas will NOT come from listening to the world’s messages and hype concerning ‘black Friday’ and the need to have all the latest gadgets and fashions. What image will our children have of us? Images based on Titus 2:7 and I Timothy 6:18? or images of us sitting around with the latest technology in our hands, with little attention being given to those whom we say we love, much less serving others in need of the love of Jesus, a love that should come naturally from the overflow of thanksgiving, for all He has done for us.

Only through the power of the Holy Spirit will we experience an extreme Christmas. Being a Christ follower should be the most exciting and extreme lifestyle any of us could ever imagine! Take a moment to praise Him for who He is and thank Him for His steadfast love and His goodness toward you and your family.

Stay tuned for some examples of extreme Christmases of others in past years.

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Nancy Youree Duggin taught public school for 24 years and served on a city school board for four years.  She also is a mother to two and grandmother to three with one on the way. This October she will celebrate 40 years of marriage.  Even with her plate full with family and training teachers, she spends countless hours encouraging and mentoring young moms.  

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