Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas is Changing

Baby Drew 2011

"Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play

My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too

Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go"

The first time I heard these lyrics was five years ago. AJ and I had just gotten married and were on our honeymoon at Universal. It was Christmas time and they were performing "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

I liked the song a lot, but every year I seem to like it more and more. It strikes a deeper chord with in me each year. This year it is cutting into my heart and I don't think I can ignore it. I mentioned this feeling to a friend the day before Thanksgiving and he joked I needed to help "fight the consumerism". I laughed at that, but it did add to the turmoil I have been feeling.

I am not going to say consumerism is bad or we are not giving presents this year (maybe in the future we won't, but I enjoy giving too much for that any time soon). I am just trying to figure out what Christmas really means to me and my family. What do I want Drew to learn about Christmas? What can we do to really celebrate what Christmas is about? What do we honestly want Christmas to be about?

"Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time

I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love

Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love"

This is the second half of the song. I realize that this isn't exactly the right meaning to Christmas either, but it is a good start.

In light of what Christmas is about, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." Since I am never going to have the ability to love or give like God did, I am going to try and love and give to those around me in the best way I can.

Therefore, this year we are choosing to do an Advent calendar. It is a little different though. It starts on December 1 for ease sake and goes through December 25th. Every day has something special for it. Every day has a family tradition, a Christmas carol, and a way that a different culture celebrates Christmas. There is also a Bible verse for every day. The verse relates to either the promise of Jesus coming, the coming of Jesus, or the blessings from the fulfillment of the promise. 

We are also limiting our presents in our house. We are only doing four presents per person: a want, a need, something to wear, and something to read. There are some loose boundaries within this. A six pack of socks would be one need or an Amazon gift card is something to read even if it buys more than one book. We are also going to try to be much more intentional with the gifts we give to other people. We want our presents to be something special, and not just "stuff" to someone else.

"Christmas day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp
Welcome Christmas while we stand
Heart to heart and hand in hand"

I know some people might be thinking this is a silly and dumb thing to be thinking about, but I know I can't be the only one who wants Christmas to mean more. What are your thoughts? Are you willing to change your Christmas and your expectations? What does Christmas really mean to you?

Also, this is not a criticism of the way anyone else does Christmas in their house. We aren't even asking our families to do this. It is just something we feel is important in our house. It is something we are trying to figure out, just like every other step of life, it looks different for every household.