Goodbye to the Hustle and Bustle

I’m thinking of celebrating the gift of Christ every day, not just on December 25th. Christmas – truly celebrated – year round? Now that appeals to me.

Some years ago, I decided that we had enough of the hustle and bustle and all the spending that someone decided had to go along with Christmas.

Why? Because the Christmas season had become the most depressing time of the year for me. It wasn’t enjoyable at all. It had become a time to avoid people, dread company parties, and stay off the road. There was nowhere to hide. Meanwhile, Jesus Christ, the reason for the whole celebration, kept getting pushed farther and farther into the background.

With all the spending and rushing around and knowing that just about all the people I knew would rather be having a different kind of Christmas, the whole thing made no sense at all.

It really was completely insane.

I decided that what I needed to do was to turn the entire gift giving thing off. (click….)

So, I’m working on it. Working to change what Christmas is to me.

My desire for change at Christmas has not sat too well with my family but slowly they are starting to understand my thinking.

My challenge was to re-think the whole thing. Toss out everything and start over. It took guts and it wasn’t always easy to stick to my beliefs.  But it’s worth the effort.

My idea of an ideal Christmas? Gather my whole family around a table and give thanks. Just spend time together. Enjoy each other’s company. Throw a party for the family. Have everyone bring a dish that is their favorite. Celebrate by giving my time and love to others. Spend time outdoors enjoying God’s gift of creation – the sky, the trees, the mountains that God has given us (Christmas day is the perfect day for a hike!).

And if I really feel strongly about giving a gift, I do. But I try to do it because I want to, not because I have to. I try to give something that won’t be around next year: cookies, tickets to a concert, a gift certificate for dinner, whatever.

It’s not perfect yet, but every year gets better.

And finally, about 7 years ago, sometime close to Christmas Eve when everyone had just about had enough, NPR read this poem as a closing to their evening news.

I keep it because it really says what we have done to Christmas. It says it all.

God Bless.

Written by Fred Gluck

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Act Local: Share gifts of time and resources with those in our community. At the Impact Tree in the Atrium, find opportunities available for individuals, families and life groups. All the information you need will be on the cards by the Tree. Take a card – put an ornament on the tree.

Give Global: On Sunday, December 13 during services, we'll take up an Advent Conspiracy offering (a direct result of spending less) to give towards clean water projects and wheelchair needs in Honduras, Kenya and Romania. If you won’t be able to join us at services on that day but still want to participate, just write "Advent" in the memo of your check and drop it in any of the offering boxes.


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