Archive | December, 2014

Why My Christmas may Look Different than Yours!

21 Dec

In the past, I have written posts about how my philosophy and thoughts about Christmas are “weird.“ Clearly, I am not in the majority of how people live and think about the Christmas holiday. I am comfortable with that. Here is the crux of my thoughts. I believe that any time you give children presents, the focus of the day (or season, even) becomes, for them, the presents. I like presents. I like giving my children presents (Matthew 7:11).

On the other hand, I don’t want to ever do anything to encourage my children to think that some earthly good is ever comparable with The Gift of Christ. In my (perhaps flawed) mind, juxtaposing presents with Christmas (whether on the day or shortly before) will naturally shift their focus. My desire for them is to use the entire holiday season as a celebration that culminates in the worship of our Lord on Christmas Day.

In my experience, items that are created merely for the purpose of accenting presents (like a Christmas tree) are things I do not include in my house. I love looking at Christmas trees, and we go to a Christmas tree farm every year. But we do not put one in our house to draw attention to the myriad of gifts our children receive.

Because I want to give presents to my children, and our culture does this around Christmas (or Chanukah), I like a compromise. This compromise would be the giving of gifts on New Year’s Day. New Year’s is a fun holiday that does not have a deeper meaning than the passage of time. Starting a year with a new thing would be cool; a resolution and a gift seem appropriate.

So, if you see me, you don’t need to avoid talking about Christmas. I love Christmas, and if you talk to me about it at any length, I’ll go on about how wonderful it is that the God of the universe decided to put on skin, live among us perfectly, and take our punishment. I’ll even share joy with you about the great things you do for your friends and family. However, I would like to kindly request that gifts to my family and children be given at New Years. I know it isn’t normal. I also know that I am required to answer to God for how my conscience is pricked in the rearing of my children.

While strange, I don’t feel like this is a struggle unique to me and my family. As I watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas, I see them struggling with the meaning of Christmas. (Yes, we watch Christmas movies and listen to Christmas songs). I believe that the byproduct reality of a culture mesmerized by a system of deceiving people into a belief that a fictional character delivers presents, especially when juxtaposed with a capitalistic, materialistic culture, is that the focus will be on the presents.

My children might prefer to get their gifts a week earlier. They might be cursing me under their breath and behind my back. However, one thing that is certain is that they know that the meaning of Christmas is not about receiving some worldly good that they will hopefully appreciate for a while. And they don’t just give lip-service to the birth of Christ being the reason, but they really know that in our household that is the way it is. And while I am sure many parents are able to do that in a variety of ways, the way I have chosen is to push back presents and do away with the things that point to them.