I’ve been reading all sorts of blogs and posts and articles about Christmas…Well, actually they’re not exactly about Christmas as they are about what to wear and what to bake and what to buy and how to watch your spending and how to not get stressed out (you wouldn’t believe how many articles I’ve seen just on that) and on and on and on and on. This stuff is even on the news.
Of course, there are articles and blogs and posts on Christmas – the birth of Jesus Christ. (Don’t think I’ve seen or read anything about it on the news, but that’s to be expected.)
What’s kind of bugging me here is that I’m seeing the kinds of stories that talk about Christmas in a way that has nothing to do with Jesus on Christian sites and blogs.
Maybe I’m just anti-tradition. Maybe I’m just weird. I’m sure there are some that think I’m crazy.
When people, especially Christian people, come up to me and say, “So, are you ready for Christmas?” I know I give them a pretty incredulous look and mumble an answer like, “Ummm, yeah.”
What are they talking about? Am I ready for Christmas? What’s to get ready? Wait…I get it. They’re asking whether I’ve baked cookies and Christmas cake till my oven went on strike, and if I’ve written out a Christmas card to absolutely everyone I know and don’t know (like my mailman), and if I’ve bought presents for everyone who’s ever meant anything to me, and if I’ve decorated my house to within an inch of it’s life, and if I’ve bought and started to defrost the 40 lb turkey I need for Christmas dinner. That’s what they’re asking about, right?
Have I done all that?
Goodness, no! And I’m not going to.
There’s nothing wrong with all that stuff. To some people it’s very important. To each their own, I say.
But what is my own? I’ll tell you.
My own is a modest fake tree that the children decorate completely by themselves (with the exception of the lights, of course) so they can make it a work of art of their own. My own is telling the children of how Jesus was born in a little barn and that God sent Him to save the whole world. My own is looking for ways that my family and I can donate our time (because we have no money) to help others less fortunate than we are (we do, at least, have a roof over our head and there are so many don’t). My own is to make sure that my children know that I love them and that God loves them even more.
I can’t put effort into fancy celebrations. Partly because I’d rather be comfortable than dressed up, partly because I don’t like putting a lot of effort into things that last mere moments, and partly because “fancy” takes away from the real point of this day.
I have troubles understanding why fellow believers in Jesus take part in all the bruhaha of the season. They decorate and bake like crazy. And they stress themselves out doing it. They put on this big fancy meal with presents and greeting cards and the whole shebang. They slave for hours putting all this together. I guess it is service in a way…they do all this to please others, and that’s a good, Christian thing to do. And that is why I say that there is nothing wrong with it. I mean, if someone I know wants to put on a fancy shindig and invite me to it, I’ll be the least fancy dressed person there. I love spending time with family and friends, especially when there’s good food to go with it. But why put back-breaking effort and tons of money into a get-together that will only last a couple of hours? Sure, there’ll be some great memories as a result. But why not, instead, have muffins and coffee and then go out and put the same effort and money into serving the homeless or some other charitable need? You’ll create more than just great memories.
Like I said, maybe I’m just anti-tradition. It went against my grain to put up a tree this year. The only reason we did is because we knew the kids were getting presents. The only reason the kids are getting presents is because their aunts and uncles are giving them presents. The only reason they’re giving my kids presents is because they want to…I told them not to. I want to break out of this gift giving business. I very much want, in lieu of gifts, to take my family to a shelter or something and give our time to people who need to see the love of God.
I mean, my family (my parents and siblings) have a great Christmas tradition. We don’t do turkey…we do fondue. Pots of hot oil in which we stick our long metal forks with cubes of beef, fish, shrimp, mushrooms, scallops, and onions dipped in homemade batter. It’s great. It’s been our traditional family Christmas meal for probably 25 years or so. But it can be a lot of work and, with me, my husband and kids and my sister and her husband, our family’s gotten pretty big, so it’s a big expense too. But it’s the tradition in my family. But, sometimes I wonder if we couldn’t put that effort and money to better use. $60 will send a child in El Salvador to school for a year.
I guess I am anti-tradition. I balk at the idea of doing things just because they’ve always been done. Why take part in traditions that have no Jesus-point to them?
I do believe, absolutely, that Christmas is a time to be with your family. But I don’t believe that fancy meals and presents are the point. There’s too much consumerism and commercialism in this world as it is. The day we celebrate one of the most important events in history should not be mired in worldly concepts. It should be celebrated in reverence to the incredible Gift God gave us.
God sent His Son to suffer and die for the whole world, even for me. He died to save a wretched, mess of a woman like me. Sometimes, the mere thought of that sends any notions of parties and presents right out of my head. It humbles me to the point where I sometimes actually think, “How could You have done such a thing? How could You have sent Your only Son to save such a miserable race?”
Well, He did it because He loves us with a love we will never understand.
I have a friend who is off to Haiti in a couple of days. She’s going to be spending Christmas at an orphanage there. Why is she doing this? So that the people who have been helping out there for so long can go and spend Christmas with their families. She’s sacrificing her time with her family and friends so that others can have an opportunity to be with their family and friends. Isn’t that incredible? It’s the perfect example of what Christmas is all about.
You can keep your fancy stuff.
I’m a low-income blue collar woman with a pile of kids that God loves enough to die for. Modest and simple has always been my style.
Red and green aren’t my colors anyway.