It is coming up to the festive season again and I have been reminded again of how much joy there can be at this time of year. Christmas carols blare out from speakers in the shopping malls and everywhere you look there are colourful decorations. For many years we celebrated Christmas with gifts for one another, but there was never any of the christmassy things that went with it. We never had a tree with all the decorations for the kids unless we visited family who had a tree. The reason for this when I look at it now is so ridiculous that I almost catch myself giggling at it. Hubby and I went through a phase ( a long phase) where we believed that Christmas trees were a pagan tradition and so we never had one. Our kids never believed in father Christmas as this man was too weird for us. Yes, our poor kids missed out a lot of Christmas fun. Well we are making up for lost time. When hubby and I went through a whole mindset change with new revelation of God’s grace and love and His kingdom, we began to see that there were many areas in our lives that were not free – we saw religion there (ouch!!!) and it horrified us. When we looked at Christmas last year we decided that we didn’t care whether trees were pagan or not – God looked at our hearts and that we were free in Him to have these traditions without them affecting how spiritual or righteous we were. So for the last couple of years our children have decorated the tree and enjoyed all the things that go with Christmas. They were so excited this year that they wanted to decorate the tree early and really enjoy it as last year we were in the middle of moving and our tree was only up a short while. So Christmas has come early in the Hemingway home – our tree is up and being enjoyed by all. What have we learned in the last while? We have learned that Jesus is not concerned with the little irrelevant things that we perceive makes us holy. He is concerned with having a relationship with us that is like a friend and a brother. All the rest just puts us in religious bondage!!