...why I love this kid??
Monday, December 20, 2010
Away in a manger, what child is this. O holy night, silent night. Blah, blah, blah. I love singing Christmas carols, but they've become so common that people miss the point, especially when secular musicians and radio stations conveniently leave out selected verses. I've talked a lot recently about the fabulous things about Christmas, and while that's all wonderful you can't ignore the reason we celebrate - Christ.
Let's face it - if you call yourself a Christian, then there's no other reason to celebrate than the birth of our Savior. Lights, presents, and trees are fun, but if we didn't have those would you still enjoy the season? Sadly I think there are some "Christians" out there who couldn't say yes.
While my husband and I don't have kids now, when we do, we don't plan on bringing Santa Clause into the picture. To focus on Santa during this season is to take the focus off of Christ and put it on someone else. Think about it - how would you feel if, on your birthday, everyone lavished attention on your cousin? Would you feel loved? Appreciated? Special? But year after year we do that exact thing to the God who loves us so much that he sent his son to die for us.
Without Christ, there's no reason to celebrate. Toys and clothes are fun to receive, but they're temporary. Santa isn't real. The food disappears. Without Christ, nothing about Christmas lasts. He is the only reason to celebrate because He is the only thing about Christmas that provides hope, joy, and love for all eternity.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
There is one event, however, that not only stayed with me, but continues to motivate me every Christmas season.
When I was a kid, my parents took my sisters and me to the Ben Franklin in town. My folks let us pick out any toy that we wanted...then they had us give the toy away. I don't remember where we donated the toys, but that doesn't matter. What I do remember is the lesson - it's about giving, no getting.
Every year I see the Salvation Army bell ringers, the Toy for Tots bins, and other local charities and I can't help myself. I just want to buy something for everyone. Granted I don't want to encourage the commercialism of Christmas, but I know that a lot of families struggle just to provide appropriate clothes. I also struggle with the reality of children feeling unloved and unwanted during a season that's all about love.
That's why I sponsored another kid this year, and I'll probably do the same next year. I don't do it so a child can get the latest toy. I do it because I hope that each gift will help that child understand that she is loved, and I pray that with that understanding comes the revelation that it's God who loves and will provide for her.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
Starting a new tradition doesn't happen over night. It can take a couple of years to figure everything out, but you can do it. Here are a few techniques that I recommend for starting your very own traditions:
1. Find something that interests you. If you don't like baking, then don't try to start a cookie exchange. Don't go skiing if you don't like the snow. Pick a passion, and start there.
2. Find something that interests others. If you want to celebrate the holidays alone, then you can skip this part. If you want others to join you, however, then you need to think of them, too.
3. Figure out a way to blend the two interests. Having a bonfire on the ice skating rink obviously won't work, but if you make time for everyones likes, they'll make the time to attend.
4. Personalize it. Sticking with the bonfire theme: yes, they're fun, but you can make it better. Have everyone's favorite roasting food, or prepare a favorite hot beverage. Show people that it's not just about doing something, it's about doing something with them.
5. Be Patient. Doing something one year is a fun time. Doing it again the next year is a repeat performance. By the third year, the tradition is forming. Be willing to stick to it and give your event a chance to catch on.
With a little bit of thoughtfulness and a little bit of planning, anyone can start a new tradition. Have fun!