Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Do You Get My Meaning?

I love and hate Christmastime.

I love the meaning behind the season.

  • Christ coming to this world as a baby and living among us
  • Jesus being the joy, light and reason for our lives
  • The little baby bringing hope, love and salvation to a world of sinning dying souls
  • The idea of putting others before ourselves
  • Giving delight to others – strangers and loved ones alike – in the form of presents, just like the Lord gave the gift of love to us through his death
  • Singing praises to the King

I hate what it seems to have become – the season to spend, spend, spend.

  • Buying gadgets that aren’t needed
  • Spending outlandish amounts on decorations, inside and outside of the house
  • Making a multitude of goodies to eat, when we don’t need or want to eat them
  • Trying to outdo ourselves or each other in the gift-giving scenario
  • Cringing in January because the credit card bill will be a lot thicker

And the mall? Don't even get me started... That is an entirely different blog!

Don’t get me wrong. I am not Scrooge reincarnated. No bah hum bug here.

I love giving and receiving gifts. My favorite moment of the entire season is when I get to open my presents. I am one of those who can’t wait for Christmas morning, waking up at an entirely too early hour and wishing others would get up too, so I make all sorts of noise with the coffee pot and the pans to make breakfast so that others will, conveniently, wake up on their own too. It’s funny, but we all seem to get up around the same time every year…

But it seems that many miss that the entire reason that this day is celebrated: to mark the birth of the Savior. We sing about it without hearing the words. We hang lights with no thoughts to why the lights are so meaningful in the first place. Presents are exchanged without deliberating about the gift from God.

It’s so sad.

Mr. Right and I are attempting to teach our kids what we think the meaning of Christmas is. Yeah, we do the Santa thing and the stockings and the decorating and the baking, but we want them to know that there is more to Christmas than that.

Much more.

We as a family do service projects together throughout the year, relating it to the services rendered by God. The kids shop for gifts to give to others in need, hearing that all that we have belongs to God and He asks that we share our blessings with others. We talk about the ultimate gift of God relating to the gifts that we give to each other, and we sing lots of songs some about the happiness of the season and others about the Christ child. (My problem is that I can’t remember all of the words to the songs. I’ve got to get the songbook out because the kids aren’t believing me when I say that “Watermelon really is the word to that song.” You singers will know what I’m talking about!)

Some of our coaching is starting to sink into their heads, especially with our daughter. She already is asking about what we are going to do for gifts to a family in need this year.

Ahhh… music to my ears.

I find that even though I really desire to have a spiritual depth to Christmas, I still fail miserably. I am often thinking quite selfishly. So I came up with a plan to remind myself about the genuine joy of the day. If you want to do something small as a reminder, maybe you can try this idea, too.

Everyone in the family buys a new candle. They then are placed them around the house to await the lighting time – Christmas morning. We try to remember to light them before opening the gifts, but if we forget in all the excitement, we go around afterwards. The candles represent the birthday candles for Jesus, giving us mini-reminders throughout the day that there is more to the day than new games, toys and feasting.

I love walking into the kitchen and seeing the candle and briefly uttering a prayer of thanksgiving for Jesus while I am going in for my third piece of gingerbread.

Now what I really need to do is to light them the other 364 days of the year. I think I could use the reminder about Christ all those other days too…

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