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Thursday, December 5, 2013

How do you celebrate?

One of the reasons I find this time of year "challenging" is because I struggle inside myself with what I call the "false Christmas hoopla."  And, guess what?  Sometimes I think the false Christmas is winning out and I feel pretty frustrated about it.

When I was growing up in a religious family we celebrated Christmas solely as the time to remember the birth of Jesus Christ.  Now, granted, I grew up as a daughter of a pastor, so I know I was not in an ordinary home -  my Dad had "extra work" during Advent and Christmas.  There were more services, the children's program, etc.   Oh - and the beautiful music!  Hymns like "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Silent Night".  One of my favorites has always been "Lo, How a Rose Ere Blooming."   The church was decorated and then lit by beautiful candlelight!

My parents never brought Santa Claus into our house.  I never heard of Jolly Ole St. Nick coming down a chimney. (Don't feel sorry for me.)  Token gifts were given to each other as expressions of love, and remembering that the wise men brought gifts to honor the baby king.

Christmas Eve was about going to church.  As a kid I know I did it because it was what my family did...I learned from them... it was tradition.  My grandparents celebrated Jesus's birth and their parents before them,  and my parents...and so I learned what the real reason for Christmas was. I heard the true story read from Luke in the Bible every year.

What  has happened over the years?  Today the secular Christmas is everywhere! It's taken over.  Santa seems to be front and center.  Buying gifts has become unbelievably big business.  I just saw a TV commercial for a new reality show about people "fighting" to have the best holiday lights!  People get edgy this time of year (me included), wondering what to buy and what to bake, and who to invite, and how much to give.   Expectations are SO high! Travel is difficult.  Calendars get full.

Is it me?  Or, is there a collective sigh on December 26th?  Phew. We made it through another year.  Maybe I feel this way because I'm an aging adult and I have watched so many Christmas celebrations come and go.

Each November I truly think to myself...THIS YEAR I'm not going to do anything but prepare to worship the Lord.  I'm not going to do any of the "false Christmas" stuff.   But, I don't stick to it.  How can I?  People would think I'm a stick in the mud, that I don't like to have fun... that I am a scrooge.  Bah Humbug.  

So, here it is.  December 5th.   20 days to go.   We are in Advent, preparing for Christmas.  I'm working on being patient...being focused...finding the joyful parts.  Trying my best to celebrate the Christ child.

So far, "Christ" is still in the holiday name.  Will that change one day?  Will it be declared politically incorrect, and offensive to others?  Possibly.   How many people now say "Merry Christmas" and don't even think about the origin...the Christ?  

Oh yes, I'm frustrated.  I'm stressed.  I worry about expectations.  BUT....BUT...BUT I also still have faith, and I still go on...and I celebrate. I want to be an example.  I love the family time. I love the music. I love the tingles I get on Christmas Eve at church.   I keep on keeping on...and I repeat over and over "It's all about the baby Jesus."  

How do you celebrate?

5 comments:

  1. I also grew up in a Christian home, but we did have Santa Claus at our house. We knew the real meaning of Christmas, though, and also sang the hymns in church and were in awe of the Nativity. I think both can co-exist, but we do have to work at it these days (unfortunately). Our celebrations have toned down now that our boys are middle-aged and not close enough for family time during the holidays. We enjoy friends and family phone calls. I don't stress about it, though. It is what we make it and what we want it to be.

    Last night, as we were checking out at Walmart, the cashier said Merry Christmas!! I said Merry Christmas back to her, then told her how nice it was to hear that! I thanked her! There is a growing undercurrent in this country to take back what is being ripped from us. We just have to be persistent and consistent. Onward Christian Soldiers!!

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    1. Terri, Thanks for the response. Absolutely we can co-exist! I'm just feeling those Christmas stresses... and I do it to myself. ) : Yes, onward Christian Soldiers! I certainly like to spread the Good News when I can!

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  2. I so get this post. I get so frustrated over the season. I'm making cute candy jars that have a poem on them about Jesus ... & got so mad when my husband made a comment that that wasn't enough to give to some people. WHAT? I said, THIS IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT? It gets tense during the season... sad.. but true

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  3. You have expressed my thoughts as well. I grew up in a home where the tree and the gifts were, but Jesus was the center. We knew Santa Claus as the man dressed up at the store downtown and in the Christmas parade, but we knew the gifts were from our parents. But every year, Christmas gets a little crazier, just as you said. The last few months of each year have always been special to me because of the coming season of Thanksgiving and Christmas and the joy it brought. Now I look forward to it being behind me. Even our church is having a contest of "what is the worst Christmas present" video ever! What??? I think this is ridiculous. It has become about the gift and not the giver. How did Christmas come to be like this?

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  4. Wow..no sense in repeating..as most of it was said in the replies/comments. I also make homemade gifts to give..and sometime I do feel as Rebecca's husband. This year..due to family stress..we will be alone for the first time in 24 years with just our son & no one is getting anything & we have sense donated our grandnieces and grand nephews presents.. no, not bah hum bug..but the truth hurts..NO prob..anyways..love the post, love the comments/replies. Blessings

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