When we say “Christmas” lots of things come to mind.

Time with friends and family.

Good food, cookies, and parties/festivities

Stores and sales.

Christmas music piped into stores and on the radio.

And . . . maybe a few extra worship services.


There is a lot of  “busy-ness” to the holiday of Christmas.

But what if Christmas is more than gifts, food, parties, and a few songs?


What if Christmas is a time that we are transformed? What if at the end of the season the “change” we experience is more than being tired from all the running and demands that come as a part of the season?


In order to have that transformation we have to experience the true grit of Christmas.


We must live into Christmas as it being a Tough Miracle. Very similar, actually, to what it would have looked like several thousand years ago!


A miracle is defined as “a visible interruption of the laws of nature, understood only by divine intervention and often accompanied by a miracle worker” (Slaughter, 5).


The Christmas story contains many miracles . . . but one of the first is the choice of Mary to be the one who gave birth to Jesus.


The Greek word for humble means “low in situation, poor, and depressed.” Mary came from a very common family, wasn’t married, lacked formal education, and did not have the credentials to be a religious leader.


Yet – she gave birth to Jesus. Mary was a miracle worker because she was willing for something beyond the norm to happen within and from her. She made some sacrifices so that we could experience The Divine.


She performed “Tough Miracles.”  If Mary, a normal human like you and me, can perform Tough Miracles – then so can we. Then Christmas would take on a new meaning.


If you are like millions of Americans, you’ve ventured into the stores at some point between Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, and Saturday to purchase items for the upcoming holiday – Christmas. Black Friday no longer has the same “punch” it once did because now the deals are extended from pre-Thanksgiving, til ON Thanksgiving Day, and then moving into the hours of Friday and throughout the holiday weekend.


Target, which put its Black Friday deals online Wednesday, said it sold 3,200 televisions a minute during the first hour that doors were open. The retailer was offering a 50-inch Hisense 4K TV for $249.99.


At Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan, 16,000 people were waiting outside an hour before it opened its doors onThanksgiving, CEO Terry Lundgren told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin.


At Concord Mills, the line outside the Michael Kors store was at least 30 people deep because the store would only hold so many people. As Layne and I walked by, they were letting five people in at a time to purchase high-end pocketbooks at a savings of 50% off.


A study done by Gallup shares that the average shopper intends to spend an average of $830 on gifts this year.


Of all those surveyed, 30% plan on spending over $1,000. On the opposite end of the spectrum, only 17% plan on spending between $100 and $249. The average income: $53,600.  Are you part of the 30% or the 17%?


Gifts are a part of the Christmas season. If I were to issue a plea for anyone reading this to NOT purchase gifts/stuff for each other, odds are you would laugh, say that isn’t reality, and most likely delete the email before you ever finished reading it.


So what if instead of prompting us to NOT spend, what if we think about what we are spending, how we could possibly change some of that spending in positive manners so that it is used to make a difference in the lives of others?


So that we can actually put action to the words of being DIFFERENT this Christmas, we designed an “Opposite Crap-Filled Christmas Calendar” for you. Each day has a different item or task for you to purchase/do so that we can see how we change when we sacrifice ourselves at Christmas. When we each perform “tough miracles.”


“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.”                               (Luke 1:46-48)