Monday, December 07, 2009

I’m really not a Scrooge, I like Christmas! I like the warm feelings I get as the day gets closer. I love the feels that surround the Christmas Eve service as people come bundled up knowing that tomorrow is the “big day”. I like that we pause in the hustle and bustle and take time to come together as a church and remember the birth of our Savior. It is the calm before the storm and it is one of my favorite traditions.

We blend Santa into our traditions and I love it for the kids. Watching them put out goodies for Santa will always reveal who knows who the real Santa is and usually includes some sort of bribery with the items selected for the plate. Santa brings the stockings at our house and it’s the only time the kids get to rip open their gifts all at once. When it comes to the gift giving, that happens later in the day and it is done one at a time. We all watch one person open their gift and get to see their reaction to the surprise. It’s a lot of fun.

This year I think I’m going to try to add in a new tradition; the making of a Jesus cake. It is a German tradition (my blood line) that goes back many hundreds of years. It consists of:
1. White cake to symbolize Jesus’ purity
2. Red frosting to symbolize his shed blood for us
3. The rising of the cake represents the resurrection
4. The single candle represents Jesus as the light that would never be extinguished
5. The sweet taste is to remind us of the wonderful life that awaits those that have received him.
6. The treats (coins and metal toys) that are dropped into the batter symbolize our need to seek Jesus and the gift he has for us.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Why do we celebrate? When I look at the traditions of Christmas, that we as Christians hold near and dear to our hearts, I wonder if it matters what we are celebrating. I mean what does eggnog, trees, stockings, house lights and going into debt have to do with celebrating the birth of Jesus? The focus on loving people and being with family seem to be the current spirit of Christmas and hope for the season. If this is true, why do Christians knock all the other religions that celebrate the holiday under their names (Hanukkah, Rohatsu, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, and Yule) when they are celebrating the same things us Christians are. Love, family and good will.

Christmas is gone. It is no longer a religious holiday, we have given it up for something else. What we do at Christmas is good, but so are the things “non-Christians” do during the same time. Christmas was started by the Church in about the 4th century to combat the pagan celebration of the winter solstice. The church designed many holidays to give spiritual meaning to these pagan celebrations in an attempt to convert them to Christianity. It looks like the church gave up on Christmas years ago and it has returned to its original state…a pagan celebration.

I say let it go and let’s celebrate the birth of Jesus in July, the month he was actually born in. I’d be curious if we would do all the same fanfare for that date as we do the current one. I wonder…

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I had decided that back in June of this year, I wouldn’t post to this blog as long as I’m posting to the Read through the Bible with Hillcrest blog every day but today it changes. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. I’m a bit touchy and the people close to me are giving me the space I require on days like this. I’m ticked with the same old ridiculous Christmas schedules and focus. It seems like everyone is unhappy with their business and just wishes they could slow down and spend time with family and other “more important” things. The truth is that none of what they don’t do is important to them. They use their business to justify and excuse their behavior and negligence of what Christmas really is.

Christmas is not about giving gifts. In fact giving gifts does nothing to draw us closer to Christ or remember his birth.

Christmas is not about traditions as most traditions have little to nothing to do with drawing us closer to Jesus or connecting with his birth.

Hold on to your hats for this one because it’s going to gain me negative popularity points and is sacrilegious. Christmas isn’t about family and being together. (now is when you can hear a pin drop).

Seriously, the best way we can come up with to celebrate the birth of Grace is to hold a family reunion. I mean, it’s great and all, but it’s not Christmas. It’s wonderful to hang with friends and be with family, but it’s not Christmas.

Sometimes I wish we could just wash the slate clean and start again but that’s not going to happen. So try in some way to slow down and stop being so busy that you can’t celebrate that Jesus was born. If family is around, have them join you in a happy birthday song or bake a birthday cake. I in no way want to spoil or rain on Christmas Spirit, but I will if it replaces the reason for Christmas in the first place.

So put that in your pipe St Nick and smoke that one!