"So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God."
Christmas. . .
The most wonderful time of the year. Sleigh bells ringing. Making a list, checking it twice. Red-nosed Rudolph. Visions of sugar plums. Decking the halls. Stockings hung with care. Rockin' around the Christmas tree. Jingle all the way. Happy Holidays!
Christmas. . .
Hijacked by secular traditions.
How do we, as Christians, reclaim the sanctity of this most holy day?
How do we transform "shop until you drop" into "pray, and never stop"?
How can we put the "Christ" back in "Christmas"?
With Advent and the celebration of Jesus' birth just around the bend, I've put together a list of suggestions to help you do just that. It is not, by any means, definitive, but it reflects many of the changes I have made through the years in how I, and my family, celebrate God's coming to dwell among us.
- When someone says to you, "Happy Holidays!", fire back with your broadest, brightest smile and wish them a very "Merry Christmas!"
- Trash the secular ornaments adorning your Christmas tree and replace them with ones that represent Jesus' birth and God's love for you. Short on cash? Get creative! Hand-made ornaments are just as good, if not better, than store-bought, and will create special memories.
- Wondering what to buy for that person in your life who has everything? How about a daily devotions book or other inspirational read to bolster them in their faith walk during the coming year?
- Purchase or make an advent wreath and light the prescribed candles each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas at your evening meal. You can find appropriate prayers for this advent custom at http://cptryon.org/prayer/adx/adwreath.html.
- Have an advent calendar on the wall, especially if you have little ones. They love opening a new door or attaching a Velcro figure to an ever-expanding scene on a cloth background. Again, make sure your calendar depicts the true story of Christmas.
- Forget the Dickensian Christmas village beneath your tree or on your hearth! Place there, instead, the Nativity scene.
- Ask others to give in your name to a charitable organization instead of giving you a present.
- Make a donation to a charitable organization. If you have children or teens under your roof, take the time to explain to them what you are doing and why.
- Remember to celebrate the REAL New Year on the first day of Advent; that is the Christian New Year! Yes, you have my permission to set off fireworks! :)
- Love to sing? Organize a caroling group to spread the good news of Christ's coming into the world. Where and what you decide to sing is your call!
Wham! The inspiration hit! What if I took some of the secular holiday songs people like so much and reclaim them for the true meaning of the season?
God is SO good!
Withing thirty minutes, I had rewritten "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". Redeemed and reborn, these were immediate hits with the congregation and are to this day.
Would you like to reclaim these, too?
Just visit our website at www.wix.com/dannymorlando/kumcrossroads and scroll to these songs listed under "Our Music".
I do hope they will help bring even more joy into this most miraculous of all seasons.
May all your Christmases by bright with His love!
I am thankful today for Danny's safe drive from Kennesaw to Charlotte, NC.
Psalms 80 or 77, (79)