“I want Christmas to affect me this year.” My daughter said in anticipation as she glanced through the advent book she has chosen to read this year.
I second that.
I’ve tried slowing down to enjoy Christmas. Said no to activities so we weren’t stressed about it. But to let it impact my life? Make a difference in me? I can’t say I’ve ever approached it that way.
Join me through December as I contemplate how Christmas can make a difference in my life.
Growing up, Christmas wasn’t about Jesus, although we did sing the carols about Him. It was about the gifts on Christmas morning. But it wasn’t about Santa, although we each got one gift that was from “Santa” and we never ruined it for other kids who believed the jolly elf was real. And every year, my parents would put a “Santa’s Workshop sign on their bedroom door alerting us to the no enter zone so we wouldn’t ruin their surprises for us.
And we had other traditions we looked forward to each year. One of my favorites was our annual “sleigh ride”. The only horses being those under the hood of my parents’ car. We would drive around the city looking at the beautiful lights strung for the holidays. Putting our stockings out, festive meals and traveling to see family. We had a lovely time.
My parents taught us Christ probably wasn’t born in December so this kind of celebration suited our family.
But as an adult, I grew accustomed to celebrating Christmas as the birth of Christ. I like it that way. Yet, we still hung on to all the traditions that have nothing to do with His birth.
It seems that during any typical Christmas, many enjoy all the trappings of tradition, give a nod to Christ at whatever Christmas Eve service they choose to go to, then move on to “what did I get under the tree?”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in a letter to his parents from Tegal prison camp in 1943, “We can and should also, celebrate Christmas despite the ruins around us.”
This would have to be Christmas at its core.
As I seek to let Christmas make a difference in my life this year, my question is, if all the trappings were taken away would I still celebrate Christ in my life? If no one returned my “Merry Christmas” would I still honor Him? God give me grace to do so.
What about you? What would Christmas become in your life if all the trappings, traditions and gift giving were stripped away?