I write this post with a mixture of hesitation and enthusiasm. On one hand, this blog is mostly a vehicle for little stories and pictures from our every day family life. There are several reasons why I'm committed to retaining that as my primary focus. On the other hand, I've noted that there are some fellow Christian bloggers who are rethinking Christmas. So though I have a very small readership, I'm excited to share what our evolving Christmas celebration looks like, just in case it serves or inspires someone... even one person.
So, rethinking Christmas.
For us, it began because of my husband's job. David works for our beloved church, which often puts on a big musical production for Christmas Eve. For Dave, as Tech Director, this means rehearsals. Lots of rehearsals. And lots of rehearsals means very few nights at home during the month of December. I'm talking... very few. So as some families are coming together to enjoy all sorts of festive activities and traditions, we have typically been preparing to release Daddy for a brief season of intense service.
I don't remember exactly how it happened, but three or four years ago, God led us to conclude that this shouldn't get in the way of our Christmas. That is, we shouldn't feel or act like we were giving anything up because we weren't able to be together in the weeks leading up to Christmas. In fact, we wanted to regard Dave's service as a privilege. And we wanted to teach our children to regard Dave's service as a privilege.
Knowing our sinful hearts, it could well have been, "Well, Daddy just has to be at church until the Christmas show is over. It stinks, but that's our lot in life." But by God's grace, it became this instead: "Christmas is Jesus' birthday, and one of the birthday gifts we get to give Jesus is releasing Daddy to be at church this month. He's getting ready to help our whole church celebrate Jesus' birthday! And there will be lots of people who don't know Jesus coming to church at Christmas. Let's pray that God will use our Christmas service to draw people to Himself."
From there, it quickly expanded to, What are other ways that we can turn our focus outward during Christmas? What are some other Christmas presents we can give to Jesus? How else can we serve? What other "sacrifices" (I use quotes because the things we lay down in God's honor are so, so meager in the grand scheme) can we make as offerings to the King in this season? We started thinking about ways to fill the weeks before Christmas with more joyful giving. It really wasn't difficult--opportunities to give abound, because need abounds.
Then there was the matter of presents.
(to be continued in another post...)