Daily Archives: December 9th, 2011

Re-Thinking Christmas?

Candy blogs: There is a new spirit surrounding Christmas this year, don’t you think? We are finally admitting on a broad scale that we have made this holy holiday into an opportunity for enabling shopping addiction and over indulging our children and justifying a reason for living on more than we bring in. All true.

There has always been a spirit of generosity, too, with gifts and food and money given to those who need it. But this year that part of Christmas has been brought forward. There is a heightened sense of the need to relate to each other on a more meaningful level, a craving for the simple joys, a looking less at ourselves and more at where we can truly make a difference.

I have to admit that I have never pondered Christmas more than I have this year.

In my little family I have a reputation for being a sap. I have tried some different ways of doing these types of things but they have usually met with knowing glances and avoiding eye contact and barely-covered heavy sighs. Ahh, my quality time love language recoils at these responses but you can’t teach a pig to sing. So this year I won’t be overdoing the sappy stuff. I do plan to give meaningful gifts but I won’t be overdoing the commentary that could go along with them. I will let them speak for themselves.

But I don’t have to let the preferences of others change the meaning I find in Christmas. My own personal Christmas … my own personal meaning. As I’ve been decorating the house and listening to Christmas music and pondering the bigness and smallness of his birth, Jesus has whispered His sweet reminders that:

… He made me sappy on purpose and it finds its sweet spot every once in a while.
… In this season of my life I’m not responsible for making Christmas meaningful to anyone else. I am only responsible for living out the meaning I find in it.

There are some physical “things”, though, that are meaningful to me at Christmas. I have several boxes of Christmas stuff but, since our nest became empty several years ago, now I only pull out the REALLY meaningful things.

Here are some of them:

I love mornings ... I love mugs ... I love bagels

Kitchen towels given as a wedding gift to us by my high school best friend, Liz Miller's, mother Jane Miller. I've kept them all these years.

A special Christmas globe ... I think the kids gave this to me. And the hand-made doily given to me by my mother-in-law years ago. I can't remember if she made it or if her mother made it. I cherish it.

My favorite Christmas CD

Familiar JOY and NOEL on the hearth again this year but have added the block letters item from Blessings Unlimited. I love seeing Christ in Christmas in a visual way.

A new set of special ornaments from Blessings Unlimited. There is a set of three ... Joy to the World ... Peace on Earth ... Hope for the Nations

Handmade ornament commemorating our first Christmas; made by Scott's mother, Patty Wendt Troutman Bradford

Our first Christmas ornament as a married couple; given to us by our friends Phil & Debbie Heinrichs. They were married two months before us. We sang in their wedding.

Handmade ornament commemorating Adam's first Christmas. Made by Scott's mother, Patty Wendt Troutman Bradford. In keeping with the rocking horse ornaments she gave him every year at Christmas.

Ornament commemorating Abbey's first Christmas. Given by Scott's mother, Patty Wendt Troutman Bradford.

And candles. I love candlelight at Christmas.

If you are struggling this season, worried about not having enough money to give your family the Christmas they’re used to, take this as your opportunity to re-connect to a REAL Christmas. Who needs those toys that get broken or games that are beaten in a month or gadgets that are obsolete as soon as they’re opened? What our families truly need from us is less presents and more presence (Pastor Darrel Wiseman).

How might that look in your family? Popcorn garlands? Singing Christmas carols together or even caroling around the neighborhood? Sharing a favorite meal? Looking at family photo albums? Reading Christmas books and stories together? Attending free community events? Building a snowman? Baking goodies and sharing with neighbors? Going sledding? Hand-made cards? Letters of respect and love in a frame?

There are times you’re meant to receive instead of give.

If you’re not struggling this season, find someone who is and do something about it. Hear Jesus whisper His purposes to you.

Here are some ideas:

Heifer International

World Vision Christmas Catalog

12 Gifts of Christmas

Capture and enjoy each Christmas moment. Celebrate His birth.
After all, Christmas changed the world.

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great JOY for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10<a

p.s. Don’t you just love how WordPress makes it snow in December?! You can hear the silence of snow or the jingle of sleigh bells!


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