Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas musings

With a half hour on the oven timer for the spice cake I'll be bringing to mom and dad's house tonight, I've got a little time to blog.

There hasn't been a lot of time for that lately - but here on Christmas Day, I've shockingly found a few moments.

We've only just begun our tribute to American consumerism today - we still have The Man's aunt's house to visit this afternoon and my family's Christmas tonight - and I'm already a little sick about it.  We have lost the meaning of Christmas.

This is not a Christian household, but The Man and I were raised in Christian households and raised with good old fashioned Christian values. We are trying to pass most of those values on to our Bug, Munchkin, and Goober. But I think that so far, we've failed in teaching our children the meaning of Christmas. And though I don't believe that the story of Jesus is a true story, I love the meaning behind it and the beauty of Christmas. 

The story doesn't tell about how Baby Jesus anxiously awaited his presents and tore into brightly colored packages with wild abandon, throwing gifts aside only to gluttonously grab the next lovingly wrapped box and do the same until they are simply left with a pile of Hasbro's latest gimmicky toys, overpriced electronics, and ripped foil paper. 

No, that's not the story. In the story of Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus in the manger - three wise men make a great journey to visit the baby and bring him simple gifts. It's about the giving. We never hear about the receiving - because that's not the point.

In the story of Saint Nicholas, the focus is on the giving - not the receiving. It's the selflessness, the desire to help others, the love and care behind the gifts given to those that needed them.

That's what we need to teach our children.  Earlier this week when I sat wrapping presents for my children, The Man and I got to talking. We made a decision about next Christmas. Next Christmas we won't be giving our children gifts. We will be giving them the money we would have spent on those gifts. But they won't be spending that money on themselves - they'll be choosing a method of giving to some children that are less fortunate than themselves. Our children need to learn the amazing feeling that one gets when they give. 

Last night we discussed this with the kids and they're all on board. Of course, we'll see how they feel once Christmas gets closer. :) But for now, I think they understand. I think this might be the best gift we've ever given them. 

Merry Christmas to anyone reading this - whether you're Christian or not - this day is about giving and family and love. And everyone can appreciate that.