The Christmas Spirit may be a little bluer this year than in the past. With all the concern about the economy and jobs we may feel that it is not possible to do as much for our families as we have in the past. This might be true if Christmas was merely about buying things for family members. Instead it is about honoring a gift given to each of us, a life. The gift didn’t originate in a factory, nor was it shipped from overseas. It wasn’t available in any mall or store, nor could Santa bring it down the chimney. It came from the love of God for you and I and everyone else in the world.
Try something different this year. Plan a family event as part of Christmas, an event that represents the real Spirit of the season. Go caroling as a family or as a group of families, not just in your neighborhood but for families that cannot get out or families that you know are having a hard time. When you finish caroling, deliver something homemade, cookies, bread, or something similar, (maybe even fruitcake—not the kind that can double as a door stop).
Contact local food pantries that will be open on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or places that will serve a meal that day and act as a family volunteer. Wear festive clothes and make it as joyous a time as you can for those who have no place else to go for food.
Is there an elderly person you know with no family with whom to share the holidays? Invite them to Christmas dinner. Use your imagination and truly give of yourself. You may find that it will be one of the richest Christmases ever.
If your children are too little for these activities, share a Christmas book reading time. My favorite is still The Littlest Angel. Remember the story of the little boy who goes to Heaven and becomes an angel, not a very good angel, but an angel none the less. On Christmas he is challenged to give his greatest gift to the infant Jesus. Just in case you never heard the story, I’ll let you find out the rest by reading it. I have a copy that I would be happy to loan to anyone.
The best memories of Christmas are never about the presents wrapped under the tree, but about the presence shared with each other and with the Presence of God.
Shalom and Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year, Darrell