Wednesday, November 4, 2015
How can it possibly time for Christmas again? Didn't we just finish?
I am amazed as I get older how much faster Christmas comes each year. Is it because I have so much more to do & prepare? I do love Christmas but I also don't like Christmas. I love the beautiful snow, our warm home, the beautiful glowing lights of our tree, the family gatherings, tobogganing, skating, fondues, friends, visits, peppermint lattes, giving, and just the overall joy. But more and more I am drifting from the true meaning - Jesus.
As a family we love to attend the Christmas Eve candlelight service, Christmas programs, the Santa Claus Parade, Christmas Banquets, shopping for our items for shoe boxes, reading the Christmas story on Christmas eve, and the list goes on and on. But I worry that my girls (okay and us) are getting way too caught up on the busy-ness of Christmas and the commercialism. They truly want this gift, and that gift, but in the end are left empty once the wrapping paper settles.
I have been studying the Advent Conspiracy with my study group at church and I love its premise. Think through the purchases, slow down, give more to the truly needy and enjoy the true meaning - the birth of Jesus.
One of the exercises is to think back to your childhood and give a favourite Christmas memory. I bet if you do it, it isn't a particular present, its a moment, family, a tradition, or an experience. The gifts don't compare to everything else. Yet we spend so much time and money on that piece. We are tricked into believing thats how to show our love, that we need this and that, that we will be happier or more Christmas-y.
D'Arcy and I have assessed the finances of what we spend at Christmas as well as the stress I undertake shopping, wrapping, worrying and we have decided to make some changes. This year we will spend less on the girls but do more family activities. We will give less to adult friends but make a point of a fun night out with them. We will do more shopping online to avoid spontaneous, emotional purchases and we will actively look for ways to give in our community and world. We will do Samaritan's Purse shoe boxes with our girls, explaining where the items are going and joy we are bringing another child in the world. We will bake cookies for neighbours to let them know we appreciate them. We will keep our eyes open for ways we can give to others, food donations, time at a soup kitchen, shovelling for neighbours - our opportunities are endless! We will give our love & time to others as a family.
So I am ready to try something new this year! I'm not gonna change it all but I may bring the joy I receive from God to others by being a little bit more selfless. Who knows - it might make the season even better!