Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Christmas is Coming...Are You Ready?

Ah...another Christmas season is upon us.  The radio announcer told me it is now less than six weeks until Christmas.  Stores' shelves are filled with Christmas merchandise while the air is filled with Christmas tunes and holiday "cheer" is finding room in people's hearts.  Ah yes, the Christmas spirit...the hustle and bustle of the shops, the hob-knobbing of the office Christmas parties, the rushing to and fro to get things just right, the endless baking and gift exchanges, "Merry Christmas" after "Happy Holiday" and "Festivus for the Rest of Us!"  And on it goes until we collapse on Christmas morning ever so glad the season is behind us for another 364 days.  SERENITY NOW!!

I say not this year, we can do better.  We can spend so much time trying to build some prefabricated experience  of Christmas that we end up missing the point of it all.  My family wants to step back and do something different but are often compelled to participate lest we rob our children of some essential memories of childhood.  And before you know it we are swept away...I'm saying let's get ahead of the Christmas bustle this year.  Let's pause now, before the inertia of the holidays carries us away.  Let's take back Christmas, reshape it and recast it so that it's no longer another hallmark holiday and rather it becomes a Holy day once again.

We do the whole gift thing in our family and we spend tons of time together over copious amounts of food.  Our kids like getting presents and you know what, I really like giving presents and that's okay.  But we try to be deliberate in making sure our focus is more on Jesus than on us during Christmas (and ideally throughout the whole year, no?).  For us this means that our giving comes from the desire to bless each other, because we love one another.  Therefore we try not to get caught up in how many presents we got each other, how much we spent, or if we got the "perfect" present.  Which I'm glad for because I have to admit I used to get stressed out if I didn't find the right gift that conveyed how important my wife was to me and how very much I loved her (in retrospect I think that's asking a little much from a gift).  We spend less on us and give more to various charities.  We want to give more of our time...admittedly we guard our time closely now but I think as the girls get older we'll be able to devote more of our time serving others.  In short, we try to pay tribute to Christ's incarnation by putting that love that we are supposed to have for one another (neigbours and strangers and all) into action.  Again, it would be ideal to do this year round...but it is good to have a touchstone date to remind us of that which we ought to be doing all the time.

The thing is, if you try to live that love out throughout the year, it takes a lot of the pressure off of getting it "right" at Christmas.  You know, if you try to be a blessing to others, through gifts and especially through other means, spend quality and quantity time together and serve others a little bit more throughout the year then it's like having Christmas all year round without the stress of having to do it all in a 4-6 week window.

So in light of the coming Christmas, here is a little video to inspire you to raise the standard Christmas and a link below the video if you want to know more about such stuff.


  1. I love this post Ryan - I hope we can refocus our hearts and minds on the purpose and life-giving message of Christmas.