Now why is it that we celebrate Christmas? I thought we were commemorating Christ’s birth. Something seems wrong.
Here are some symptoms that Christmas has gone awry:
- Black Fridays that turn violent.
- People seduced by Black Friday frenzies to spend money they don’t have.
- More emphasis on decorating homes than providing for the homeless.
- Overeating by some while others go hungry.
- Stressful days instead of peaceful days.
- Family tension and hurt feelings instead of joyful times with family.
- Longer store hours instead of longer hours with family.
Do you want to bring your family back to the real celebration…the one that brings joy and peace?
Here are a few ideas that might help:
- Read the Christmas story. Talk about the meaning of Christmas. Attend special services and programs that emphasize Christ in Christmas.
- Cut back on meaningless gifts that the recipient probably doesn’t want anyway. If you doubt that happens, look at the “guidelines for re-gifting” found in magazines and online.
- Make a plan with family and friends to give to the needy in each others’ names. For example, send the money to a food pantry that you ordinarily spend on your brother’s gift.
- Give to those who have real needs such as food, clothing, and warm homes.
- Decorate less. Train your family to find joy in a simple Nativity and a tree with homemade decorations. In time, they will become accustomed to less.
- Use the time you save by not overdecorating to visit shut-ins and nursing home residents.
- Scale down the marathon cooking and eating. Create some new versions of the traditional Christmas dinner. One of my best Christmases included dinner at my daughter’s home when she served a big pot of brown rice, a variety of purchased tamales and raw vegetables. We actually got to spend time with the family instead of in the kitchen.
- Choose an outreach project for your family. Pray together and decide who you want to bless this Christmas.
Making the change is hard, but worth the effort.
Is this kind of change hard? Absolutely. But, Christmas should be a time of peace and joy, a time of celebrating the birth of Jesus, and a time to love others. As for my family, we are working to make these changes. And, it has made all the difference.
I pray that your family will make a commitment to bring Christ back to the center of your celebration.