Monday, December 03, 2007

A More Joyful Christmas

I wanted to share this great blog entry by my dear daughter-in-love, Lily:

My mother-in-law let me borrow this book she got from the library. Hundred Dollar Christmas: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas is what the title proclaimed. I'm thinking, can ANYONE accomplish this in the world of commercialism and materialism? Wow, a great thought, but not possible.

But, then it hit me.

That IS what we are doing this year. Not by choice, but due to financial circumstances. Being content in this has come slowly, as you look to the gift-giving idea of Christmas and think of all the people you are "letting down" due to your uninvolvement. How can Christmas be the same without showering everyone you know with fancy Christmas photos of your children, long-winded letters of the years happenings, and expensive gifts from the heart? Isn't THAT what Christmas is about?

Well, we all know better. No, it's not. But, isn't that what Christmas has become? Bill McKibben says in his book, "..the story of the birth of this small baby who would become our Savior, a story that should be full of giddy joy, [can] hardly break through to our hearts amid all the rush and fuss of the season." How sad! The TRUE meaning of Christmas is hidden behind filled stockings, under wrapped presents, and in print too small to read on our Christmas cards. And, we still keep telling ourselves we are celebrating Christ's birth. Are we?

McKibben talks about how 70% of Americans who make more than $30,000 year would give up a day's pay each week for a day off work. That 69% of Americans would like to "slow down and live a more relaxed life." He then says, "What that means to me is simple: time is in many ways our most valued commodity. If we could buy more of it from some store, the line outside its door would stretch to the horizon. Our strategy with Christmas, then, has gone slightly awry. We've gotten used to spending more money to make it special. But if money's no longer as valuable as time, we are offering each other a devalued currency." Wow, harsh!

So, in the spirit of celebrating the gift of a Savior from our Lord, we are giving each other our drained pocketbooks. Doesn't sound like it really fits "the reason for the season" to me. So, how do you really celebrate the birth of Christ when the world tells us to focus on the cards, decorations, and gifts?

I don't know. But, I'm learning. And I'm sure this year of circumstance will help me better understand. For us, we are celebrating by making hand-made gifts, shopping for thrift-store quirks that will make our siblings smile, and opening our home for family gatherings. You can't forget the meaning of Christmas as you sit with your family and knit a scarf, shop with your friend laughing among the fifty-cent isle, or playing games with the people you love most.

So, maybe this will be the year we change. Change for the better, not for the worse. Change for truth, not for the world. Maybe we can accomplish the Hundred Dollar Holiday, not just this year, but all the years following. Maybe if we keep having childen, this will never be accomplished again. *smile* But, this will be a year I remember. I am looking forward to a Christmas like one we have never had before. I'm looking forward to a Christmas spending ample time with my family and with my Savior. No hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping here. It's Nov 30th and I won't be at the stores again! I will thank my family for their love and thank my Savior for my family, and His everlasting love.

I hope all of you can find Christ amidst the holiday chaos, too.

I added some thoughts at my other blog , as well.

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