Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The reason for the season.

I've decided that holidays can completely bum you out in that period between your own childhood and your children's childhood (my future, hypothetical, completely non-produced children, for the record). See, when you're a kid you're oblivious to the money side of Christmas. You're oblivious to the stress of balancing obligations, to the stress of pleasing people. Once you grow up, you also lose a lot of the purpose of the holidays... you're not big on Santa, you don't get so excited you can't sleep waiting for Christmas. It becomes a bit of a let down. I've found it hard these past years to really get geared up for Christmas. I've been assured that once (in 5-10 years) I have kids (if I figure out how to tolerate them long enough to live with them), the "magic" will return because you're creating it for your own, but right now, I'm sort of in that valley of holiday life, between two peaks.

And yet I think what I'm experiencing is actually the setting in of what Christmas is really about. The other day I was out shopping and saw people frantically buying, spending, blowing cash. Right now money isn't plentiful for us and I guess that perspective makes me feel sick about just mindlessly spending money. Also, I see people spending so much time decorating, going to parties, and emphasizing Santa. I feel frustrated because I think about what Christmas is supposed to be about and I don't see it in our society.

And yet I understand about spending money, about shopping, about the gift giving part of the holiday - because when I'm carefully selecting what to get my loved ones for Christmas, I feel intentional about celebrating the season - I'm thinking about why I love them and appreciate them.

To make myself "gear up" for Christmas, I'm trying to slow down, appreciate the time spent with loved ones, focus on celebrating Advent (the season of waiting) and THEN Christmas, and trying to reconcile my spiritual world with a world that is so materialistic that it seems there is no place for Jesus in Christmas.

I saw these ornaments today and fell in love with them (but not their price tag). I love them because they represent bridging that gap - I can have the Christmas tree, the presents, the holiday cheer of secular Christmas songs, and still remember WHY we are doing all of this:
These ornaments are a part of a set of 8 that tell the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. They are from this cute gift company called Coton Colors.

Things like those ornaments and my cute nativity scene my parents gave me for Christmas last year keep me focused during this season that can become a frenzy. What I hope to do is slow down, wait, enjoy my experience, stop stressing about money and time and obligations, and just be.

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