Hey, y’all! How’s everyone doing? Hopefully all y’all are doing well. Are we remembering to slow down for Advent? Have we trimmed back the craziness just a bit? I’m so ready to be in the new house and settled so I don’t have to go ANYPLACE for a couple of days! Honestly, I’m basically living out of a suitcase right now. Thanksgiving was great, though, with good family time. Now I’m off to Ohio and then Texas and then Mexico before I head back. It’s so great to have friends and family who can stay at the house while I’m out globetrotting, lol. Grab a cuppa and find a comfy spot to relax a minute and let’s talk more about the Christmas holiday season.
I was quite shocked a few weeks ago in Israel. We were near the church of the Holy Sepulchre (where Christ died and the empty tomb is). Outside in front of one of the shops along the way, we saw a big blow up Rudolph, a life-sized Santa playing the sax, and a giant snow globe with the electric motor for the front lawn. I gotta tell you that was the LAST thing I expected to see over there! How did ‘Christ-mass’ get so commercial? How do we survive with our faith intact?
First, slow down. Don’t get sucked into the commercialism and crazy pace and perfection illusion of the best parties. No matter what anyone says, you are not obligated to have a champagne open house with perfectly decorated cookies on your best china with elaborate matching decor! Martha Stewart doesn’t live at my house, honey. If she worked the job I have, even she couldn’t do all that stuff! 🙂 I am having an open house. Sans Christmas decor. I simply don’t have time to impress; I want to spend time with the people here in KC before I move to Ohio! So, paper plates, store bought cookies and some cider or iced tea and we’re ready. No tree, lights, garland, candles, etc. Plastic tablecloth if we’re lucky. And in 2 years nobody will remember, anyway. Hopefully they will remember warm friendships and good conversation.
I have a few other suggestions. Put first things first, attend church services. Observe Advent. You can find last year’s posts on Advent by searching for it. If you are part of a denomination that doesn’t observe Advent, check around town for a church that does. They won’t bite if you decide to visit them for the Advent observances. A part of making faith part of the season is taking time to just be. We don’t need to have six perfect gifts for every person on our list. Really, I bet our lists could be trimmed anyway. Let your gift giving be from an honest heart that wants to give, not out of obligation because you’re afraid that so-and-so is getting you something, so you have to reciprocate. Slow down, breathe, go to church, find a short Advent devotional to read each day. It will do you good all the way around.
Decorate to reflect faith. Christmas trees and lights are perfectly fine. Just be sure to tuck in a nativity set someplace. If you’re celebrating Advent, you will likely have the Advent wreath and candles. St. Nicholas was a real person! One of my favorite ornaments is Santa kneeling by the manger. I have ornaments, wall hangings, books, etc. with that theme. You might jump online and investigate doing a Jesse tree this year. It’s a tree decorated with symbols of the faith. They can be quite elegant, or very simple. Whatever fits your family.
Pray for those we send cards to. Keep the cards you receive, as well, and take a few of them at a time and pray for those folks throughout the year. Buying something for someone that they don’t want or don’t need, just to be buying them something is crazy. An old rhyme sticks with me: We spend money we don’t have to buy gifts we can’t afford to impress people we don’t even like. Why not donate to their favorite charity in their name, and give them the receipt in a gift-wrapped box?
That should be enough to help you slow down and enjoy the real reason for the season.
If you’re not sure about all of this, or want to know more about why we call it “Christ-mas” or just need to talk to someone over the holiday, find a pastor or priest. They will be more than happy to hear you, answer any questions, and find some help for whatever needs you may have.