I have struggled this year with the Traditions of Christmas.
That sentence makes me want to laugh and weep and say DUH! As if anyone who knows me or reads my words hasn’t figured that out. I have not wanted to embrace this season for 2 reasons. First, I am diligently accomplishing a set of goals and the prepping and purchasing for Christmas is cutting heavily into my creative energy and time. Second, I have felt very frustrated with the commercialism of an American Christmas when so many of my global neighbors are without homes, food, water, education, freedom…
How do I balance these opposites? Where do I find the peace and hope of Christmas in all the mayhem? I am daily clinging to my Savior the one who loves me beyond explanation even as I pray for strength in my first world problems. He cares about me and my petty little world and He cares about those who have much greater needs than I.
I remember the sacrifice He made to come and live among us.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. ~ John 3:16-17 NKJV
Sacrifice is how I am trading my feeling of obligation for joy!
A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words. ~ Unknown
We decorated our living spaces to reflect the Christmas Season this last weekend (right after I was done grieving my Cherry Tree friend). During our afternoon my son found jazzy Christmas music on youtube because he knows his mama’s favorite Big Band Christmas CD gave up the ghost last year. My daughter gets out the coffee filters and begins to cut them to go on the sliding glass door next to the greeting cards we will receive. Like a well-oiled machine, things begin to appear in their traditional places. And I hear it, the song I have sung to them they now sing to me. Finally, Christmas has come to the Turner house. This is hope, this is family, this is a little piece of peace amongst the stressful demands of tradition.
I want to teach my children to add sacrifice to the traditions of gift giving as well. Part of my great struggle this season besides my own selfish want of accomplishing my agenda is that I want to do right by my world and not just amass things no one really needs. So I have some suggestions:
Do you know that you can give that person on your list that already has everything a gift of an actual nativity scene through World Vision? It is true. You can donate money to purchase animals and clean water for others around the world and give your Uncle, Grandmother, or friend the honor of having that be in their name.
Maybe you need a gift you can wrap? How about something made by a woman who is now, because of her trade, able to keep her children, keep them fed, give them an education or keep them from being sold into slavery? Shop from my friend Lynsey’s site at Trades of Hope.
Above all remember that every Christmas tradition should be based in Christ’s Sacrifice! A sacrifice He made not so that we could celebrate traditions but so that we might dwell with Him.
What grieves your heart this season?
Who has sung a song to you that you might remember your joy?