I should be in bed.
I should be answering the call of my clean laundry pile.
But instead I'm going to journal some thoughts.
I've had the desire to journal a lot lately but haven't had the quiet space or time to do it.
So I sit here now deciding to journal and then turn off my light.
Have you made any Christmas lists?
Set dates for Family Get Togethers'?
I'm sure you've done something to prepare for one of the two holidays coming up - even if it's just in your mind still.
I know we haven't had Thanksgiving yet - that's one of my favorite holidays.
It's the best prelude to Christmas.
There is always so much talk this time of year on giving, on consumerism and on how we celebrate Christmas.
You've maybe heard of Advent Conspiracy.
It's been around since 2006 - came out of a church in Oregon.
Their message is . . . Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All.
Our church is going through their videos.
Each year it has me thinking.
Some people get upset that we start planning and preparing for Christmas so early or that we start listening to Christmas songs to early or that we do to much during this season.
I guess I look at it a little differently.
We celebrate our kids birthdays big - we plan ahead - we think of things that would make them feel special - we might pick a theme - we find gifts they'll like - we don't have to spend a lot but we do celebrate big.
So why wouldn't I celebrate Jesus' birthday big?
He came for me.
He's the one I claim to follow.
I think the question we just have to keep asking is HOW do I celebrate His birth?
For our kids we think about what THEY would like?
For Jesus we need to think about what HE would like?
Think about your purposes as a follower of Him.
Love Him - Love Your Neighbor - Love Others - Love the Poor and Needy - We are made for Relationships - We are supposed to bring Him Glory.
I think that sums it up.
Wouldn't it be best to celebrate Him by living out those purposes?
Our traditions and culture make it all messy.
I'm FAR from celebrating Christmas the best way.
But I wrestle with it.
I don't like the guilt messages that we hear this time of year.
Some say we go overboard by putting up Christmas lights, or shopping to early, or making our schedules to full.
Don't you think this is a question we can't answer for one another?
We have to ask it for ourselves.
For example some say we shouldn't buy gifts - we need to go simple and make them.
For one person that could save some money and it could bring a very meaningful gift to someone and bring joy to the person that made it.
For the other person it could bring more stress to them and it could actually cost as much or more than purchasing one.
For one person decorating their house fills them with joy for Christ's birth.
For the other person it's just something they have to do because they always have.
I started to think about how we do Christmas at our house and how this fits into all of my thoughts on consumerism and our American way of Christmas.
Here's what came to mind that we do each year . . .
We try to reduce spending more and more each year. We do that different every year. Some years more drastic than others.
We contain the shopping into a time frame. This helps me. It helps me save but even more so it helps me spend more of my season on Him instead of having a head full of lists and thinking about stuff to buy.
We look for new traditions/activities that point to Him.
We look for Him in things we already are doing in celebrating. Last year I gave away a book that gives you ideas on this. (Here's the link to that post.)
We say NO to things we are doing just because it's Christmas and we think we are supposed to do it.
We create space to build relationships.
We pick ways to give - financially, relationally, and with our time.
We try to do some quieter more intimate things to celebrate (reading the Christmas Story by candlelight) and we try to do some BIG ACTIVE things to celebrate (Putting up Xmas lights and remembering that He came to be the light of the world and we are a light in this world.)
It's different for us all.
Some of us should add to HOW we celebrate.
Some of us should say no to some things we do to celebrate.
Some of us just need to think about WHY we do what we do.
It's more of a heart check this time of year than a list check.
I'm for celebrating BIG.
Sometimes simple is BIG.
Sometimes big is BIG.
But just ask yourself HOW?
So let me ask you, to ask yourself:
If you are a believer how will you celebrate and focus on Christ this season?
Just ask yourself.