Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Tag

Making Room for Christmas   Leave a comment

For November I posted daily a thanksgiving on Facebook, usually tongue in cheek, and I found the daily practice was good both for my writing and my outlook.  Keeping a habit is a good bit easier than creating one from scratch, so here’s my carryover: daily advent reflections, starting inevitably with simplicity to which Kimberly and I are forced by our meager resources.

Dec. 1 (yes, I realize it is Dec. 2… I’ll catch up tonight)
So, Thanksgiving’s out of the way, barely.  Friday and Saturday I put up half our Christmas decorations, a little here, a little there… the rest is not going up.  Kimberly and I scale our life investments to our energy levels, which is one of the secrets not only of keeping the spirit (and Spirit) in Christmas, but of surviving all year.

I could say we are forced into simplicity, and it sometimes feels that way, but truly it is a life choice.  We have discovered that our hearts are fuller, healthier, more alive when we spend within our means emotionally, financially, socially, and in every other way.  I have to continually remind myself that my lifestyle is a choice.  It doesn’t feel that way because our personal poverty level is not a choice–it has been thrust upon us–and though we do what we can to increase our reserves without depleting our souls, we seem to make little headway.  But how we choose to live within such a tight emotional budget is in our hands, and I believe we do well with what we have, better than many who have far more in their personal accounts.

Many approach Christmas with a determination to squeeze out of it every ounce of happiness they can–after all it only comes once a year.  They decorate lavishly and bake incessantly and shop feverishly.  They bribe or cajole all the relatives into coming for this great gala, then spend large amounts of energy keeping everyone to task fulfilling THE PLAN.  “Quiet night, holy night” gets swallowed up in the Magnificent Christmas Celebration.  Sometimes the spirit of Christmas seeps into our souls more easily when we settle into simplicity.

Posted December 2, 2013 by janathangrace in Personal, thoughts

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Boxing Up Christmas   1 comment

ChristmasI am clinging to Christmas past: playing Christmas music, plugging in the tree, snacking on holiday food and drink.  My neat wife likes to box up the season quick, but I’ve talked her into observing the 12 days of Christmas, not because I’m liturgically inclined, but because I’m trying to hold at bay the cheerless, cold, dark march of winter days.  Our second advent theme this year was celebration, and all our decorations and colored lights inside and out speak of good cheer, pushing back the bleakness beyond.

star of bethlehemThe first Christmas was a true celebration, the Savior had been born and his whole life of healing and redemption lay ahead of him.  His birth was the great crack in space and time through which God poured in.  It changed everything.  But our little christmases change nothing.  We pause to celebrate for a few weeks and then go back to life as usual; our sugar high dumps us on the doorstep of New Years with our purses a good bit thinner and our paunches a good bit thicker.  Our celebrations leave us worse off, our only defense the remorse of resolutions to do better in the next 12 months.

As I say goodbye to extended family, vacation, wrapped gifts, boxes of chocolate, TV specials and Christmas carols and return to the mundane of alarm clocks, office memos, bologna sandwiches, and the monthly mortgage, how can I keep alive the magic of Christmas?  If there is any real magic in Christmas and not just pretend magic, it must be that God himself is with me–Immanuel–and my ongoing celebration, not simply of his memory from 2000 years ago, but of his daily presence.  Any suggestions for how a celebration of that might look?

Posted December 30, 2012 by janathangrace in thoughts

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