I’m just going to be honest. I’ve been somewhat disenchanted with Christmas this year. I haven’t been able to “get in the spirit of things.” There’s been very little excitement for the decorations, planning, shopping, parties and all that goes along with the holiday season. It’s not as though I want to bypass the festivities altogether and I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with all those things. But I keep feeling there must be a better way – that I’m missing something. Something very important.
Earlier this week I was reading a blog by Shaun Groves that shared some background on how Christmas became so commercialized. It started me thinking, “I wonder how Jesus feels about the way we celebrate His birthday. Does God look around at the activity between Halloween and December twenty-fourth and smile at what He sees? Do our activities warm His heart?” For the most part, I find it highly unlikely. I’m afraid it actually breaks His heart and grieves His Spirit. I don’t think He’s bothered by the decorations, lights, hustle and bustle, per say. But I know that His first concern is for our hearts, so it stands to reason that how these things affect us might trouble Him. If the flash and fluff along with the stresses of the holidays push Jesus out of center position in our lives, then Houston, we have a problem! I don’t want to be a part of such a celebration. I don’t want to ignore or boycott Christmas, but I want to do something different.
My Google Homepage Bible Verse of the Day on Tuesday was James 1:27…
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
This exact verse came in my emailed DBV the next day! I don’t know about you, but I’m afraid to ignore God’s word when it taps me on the forehead two days in a row! I paid attention. I sincerely want to help people who are in need and I want to stay away from the disease of worldliness at the same time. Following God’s instructions to love Him and love others goes a long way to “looking after orphans and widows in their distress” – that part makes sense. But preventing the season from robbing our joy and “being polluted by the world,” if you will, may be tougher to accomplish.
Enter the theme for this Christmas Season at Stonecreek Church. “Pause: This is Christmas.” We are pressing “pause” on December 20th from gathering together as a church family and we are going out into our community to be the church. We have little cards to leave or hand out to people as we treat them to an Intentional Act of Christmas. The hope is that the community will experience God’s love and we, as the church, will become more accustomed to “being the church” daily instead of having the mindset that we are only the church when we are “at church.”
As I pondered how God wants us to celebrate His Son’s birthday, an idea was born to try and carry Christmas through the entire year. So here’s my plan. Every month on the 25th I’m going to celebrate Christmas. And since there are twelve months, there will be Twelve Days of Christmas in 2010. I know it’s not exactly celebrating Jesus’ birthday everyday, but it’s a start. I think as an experiment I’ll spread my gift-giving, card-mailing, treat-baking and other Christmas traditions over the course of the entire year.
Be warned, you never know when you’ll get a Christmas gift, a Christmas card, or a batch of Christmas goodies from me in 2010. I think it’ll be fun. I plan to spread my Intentional Acts of Christmas over the whole year also. I may even leave a small Christmas tree up all year as a visual reminder and add an ornament representative of each month’s special activity.
I’ll keep you posted on how it works. I’ll include posts here about the things God teaches me throughout the year and how people react to something this unusual. As I’ve shared my idea with family and close friends most reactions have been, “Hmmm, that’s nice,” or a non-committal, “Interesting…” We all know what that means…she’s really lost her mind this time. Oh well, I once heard when other people tell you your ideas are crazy, you must be on the right track!
So go ahead. Give me your honest opinion. Do you think Christmas can last all year? What are your ideas for placing the emphasis back where it belongs? I’d love to hear your suggestions.