Thoughts on Christmas

19 09 2009

I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas.  Not a love/hate relationship with it’s meaning, just the holiday itself.

I love Christmas music, gingerbread houses, molasses cookies, wrapping gifts after the kids are in bed, getting out my favorite decorations, shopping with my husband for just the right thing for each of the girls, and the general anticipation of it all.

I hate the stress that accompanies it, and the way I feel rushed from one thing to the next.  I hate how I am forever checking off a mental list of things to get done before that next Christmas party or family gathering.  I hate how every year, I find myself asking, “Jesus, are you really being honored in all of this?  Are you being recognized in this hustle and bustle? or is worshiping you just one more thing on my never-ending ‘to-do’ list?”

The last several years have been completely overwhelming and I definitely find that the hate side far outweighs the love side in my attitude toward Christmas.  So I’ve been evaluating all of this and I’ve decided that several things need to change:

1.  I am taking a different approach to gift-giving.  I am not going to ask for a list from anyone (with possibly one exception, but that’s too complicated to address here).  I have been irritated the last several years with the idea of exchanging lists (we do it with both sides of our family plus our own children). How impersonal to look at someone’s list, click a few buttons on the computer, and then scratch that name off and declare, “Finished with that one!”!!  AHHH!  What about that is gift giving??  We might as well be transferring money from our bank account to the accounts of the people on our lists and call it good.  This year I am going with my heart.  If I come across something that makes me stop and say, “ooooh, wouldn’t Candace (or Kim, or Tera, or Chad, or Cara, etc.) love that?” then that’s what I’m buying!  Don’t care if it’s on someone’s list or not!!  It just feels like a more personal approach to giving.

2.  I am shopping early.  And I mean E.A.R.L.Y.  I’ve already begun, and I am hoping to have every single item done by the first week of November.  Yup.  The closer we get to Christmas, the crazier shopping is and I’m trying to steer clear of crazy!

3.  I will listen to more Christmas music.  I love music.  Always have, always will.   It soothes my soul.  Christmas music does that and it puts a little extra bounce in my step.

4.  I will focus more on Jesus.  It’s so cliche’, but He is the reason for the season!  Without Jesus, there would be no reason to celebrate at all!  I hope to honor him more, worship him more, thank him more, and recognize him more amidst the chaos that is sure to accompany the next several months, no matter how much I plan ahead.

It’s only September and the first snow flake is yet to fall.  But I deeply desire to have a different experience with Christmas this year, and I hope that these changes will help me accomplish that.  I would love to hear from any of you reading this, what you do to keep Christmas special.  Not just family traditions, and special memory-making times.  But how do you prepare your heart for the celebration of Jesus?