Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas ramblings

I love Christmas. I love everything about it. It has always been my favorite time of year.

As Monday-Sunday said, I even love the commercialism. I love the music, the decorations, the aluminum trees.

I don't like the commercialism that's all about selling me stuff. I don't like the idea that Christmas is for the saving of our economy. One last boost to our monetary system.

But I love the rest. I love looking at the lights. We are going to drive around and look tonight. I like the simple, elegant light displays. I also like the gaudy ones with everything crammed in that will fit. I like Santa and reindeer. I like goofy Christmas specials. I love the sappy movies. I like the emphasis on family and other loved ones.

I miss the old variety shows that always had their Christmas specials. Donnie and Marie and The Captain and Tennille. I miss Perry Como and Bing Crosby.

I love Cider and popcorn and Christmas cookies. I'd like to try things like a Christmas Goose and a Christmas pudding, but some people around here don't want me to. I love tradition. I love new and creative things. I love Christmas.

Of course the best part is what it represents. The fact that Christ came. Prophecies were fulfilled and God became man. But the truth is, this isn't the only part of Christmas for me. I think about those things all the time. God is the main part of my daily life and I don't need Christmas to remind me of what He did.

As people have pointed out to me; God didn't ask us to celebrate Christ's birth. That's true. But I'm sure He doesn't care that we do. Jesus loved a good celebration. His first miracle was making wine for goodness sake. He was criticized as being a glutton and a drunkard. So I think He's ok with the fact that we make a big deal of Christmas and feast and laugh and love and give good things to one another. He loves it! But I also don't think He would be terribly disappointed if Christmas went away. After all, as mentioned, it's not written in His word anywhere. I'm sure He cares more about how we live the rest of the year.

But anyway, all this to say that lately--the past two or three years—I have been having trouble getting excited about Christmas. I've had a hard time finding that joy and wonder and "Christmas spirit" that used to come so easily. I've been trying to figure out why and asking God to help me figure out how it can be different next year.

Last night while talking with a friend I realized where my Christmas discontentment is coming from. It's from the gift-giving. Now, I love giving gifts. It isn't that. But it is the fact that I am trying to find things for people who already have everything they want and way more than they need. My kids don't have all they want, of course, the want never ends for them. And that is part of my frustration. It is so hard to buy things for them when they have so much and yet they still want and want. I love them to pieces, but can't think of a thing that I really want to give them. That one special thing that would make their eyes light up and fill me with joy to give.

The adults in my life all get what they want whenever they want it. So what do I do?

I'm not sure. But it helps me to realize where the real frustration lies. I know we will do something to decrease the gift-buying next year. We have been telling the kids for several years that Christmas isn't about them and we have been buying fewer gifts each year. We let their birthdays be about them, and try to give the bulk of gifts then. But we still need to cut back more.

We'll figure something out. And I know that the solution is going to involve more giving of ourselves to those outside of our family. People who have real needs. People who know what it means to truly want. That's what my heart is telling me.


  1. I so agree! I realize that the most wonderful gifts are the very small ones that I receive. I also find the most favorite of times are the times that my family is watching a Christmas movie, or riding around looking at lights, or putting up the tree, having chocolate fondue (a tradition), or seeing Grandma every Saturday for Christmas cookies and a Christmas show, or making Sugar cookies..that there is LOVE! What a mess! Reading the Christmas story in our PJ's on Christmas morning..Kay..I really appreciate your it!!

  2. My son's birthday is today. Twenty-five years ago he was born in the late afternoon, and we went home on Christmas Eve and then on to my parents' house on Christmas Day.

    We didn't have a lot of money for a lot of years, so our son got one gift for his birthday and a few presents for Christmas. Gifts were special and well thought out, but he learned not to expect a bunch of them. He's very happy with little, and even though we can purchase more now, gifts just aren't the focal part. We've reduced the quantity of gifts exchanged outside our immediate family to attractive calendars or coffees or candies, but we're all grateful to spend time together with special lunches ahead of Christmas because we don't get to spend much time together during the year.

    I found in the past when I fretted over the gifts I had to buy, it took away from the reason to celebrate. Now with the gift giving reduced to its proper level, the season is a wonderful reminder of the miraculous beauty of the Child who came to die for all of us.

  3. Kay are you inside my head or what? I've been dealing with everything you mentioned above. I've been attempting poorly to articulate my thoughts and you did it for me - thanks :) Its good to know someone understands. I was just telling some friends today that its probably ok with Jesus that we make a big fuss over Christmas and give each other gifts, but why do we pretend that its for Him? We need to live for Him each day and remember HIS sacrifice each day so that it effects each day of the year not just a random day in December.

    I too agree that we need to find ways to give to those who have true needs and sometimes those gifts may not require money. We don't have a lot of money to give, but we have love and we have time. I've been thinking a lot about your mom's posts and I'm going to look into visiting some retirement centers and trying to build some relationships there... I know a bunch of churches do that kind of thing around the holidays, but I'd like to make it more a part of our normal lives. I want my children to grow up loving people and loving Jesus. My son just turned five and my daughter is seven. Pray for me as I learn this parenting thing and make tons of mistakes and hopefully learn from them. Pray my kids life verses for them - daughter Phil. 1:9-10 and for my son 2 Timothy 2:22.

    Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  4. I know what you mean about finding and buying presents for adults (and sometimes kids) that already have everything they need...and want. And if they need/want something really bad, they generally just go out and buy it.

    Unless of course we are talking about a $100,000 fancy car...or a huge diamond necklace...or a new house...or a new job. Those things we can't give no matter how much you want or need it.

    It is tricky coming up with a reasonably priced present that isn't lame - but is unique.

    If my dh REALLY wants something - he can just go out and buy it, and he usually does.

    My fil needs/wants for nothing. But he loves candy/ even though he can go out and buy it himself - I buy an inordinate amount and package it up in some interesting container.

    It's hard...

  5. Robin,
    yesterday my mom was saying she didn't know where I got my ability to host dinners, etc. My dad said she was fishing for me to tell her what I did learn from her.
    I said she taught me to be nice to people, but really, it was to love people. All kinds.
    I was in Nursing Homes all the time as a kid. And you know, my kids don't go. I need to be taking them, too.
    I am so glad you are a part of my blog!


I love to hear your thoughts!