But I Also Really Like Egg Nog …

I am so excited to belong to a church that is embracing what it means to follow Christ – particularly during the Christmas season – but I admit I have some conflicting emotions about what this might mean when it’s put into practice.

I grew up in a Christian home and was always taught that Christ was the center of the holiday, that we were celebrating the significance of God coming to the world as man. Deep down, I know this is what I should be thankful for, what I should be celebrating. But I also learned – by sheer fact of growing up in the culture I did, that Christmas was about many other things as well: presents, food, strings of lights, trees, etc. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with any of these things, but as I started to think about my past Christmases, I realized how much those things clutter my mind and distract me from Christ as the center of the celebration.

And still – even knowing how they distract me from the meaning of Christmas, I don’t like the idea of giving them up.

Initially when I heard about Advent Conspiracy I was eager to disregard all our society teaches us about Christmas and stop myself from being sucked into a world of consumerism. In reality, I’ve never spent that much money on gifts during Christmas; I’ve never had the budget for it. So, spending less is something I think will be easy for me to do.

As for “giving more,” well, we began that last year in life group as we challenged one another to give relationally, and to take part in serving with opportunities available through the Christmas Tree in the atrium.

But what about worshiping more? Like I said previously, I’ve been raised in society that has created all these traditions and they do distract me from being centered on Christ and worshiping him fully during the season. And initially, I was all excited to give up some of the traditions that just get in the way. But then I stopped and thought about it, and now I’m not sure what to think.

egg-nogI mean, I love Christmas, it’s my favorite time of year. And my favorite part is the traditions. I’m a sucker for Christmas music – especially classics from Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole. I find myself some years wanting to get out the Christmas music in July just because I love the memories I have associated with it: dancing with my dad to our favorite song, waking up hearing “let it snow” when it is actually snowing outside, smelling cinnamon and nutmeg coming from our kitchen as my mom cooks the best pumpkin pie ever. And, oh yes, I especially love the egg nog. Last week I was in a grocery store and audibly gasped when I saw a shelf of egg nog. I was so excited about getting to have a glass I called my parents just to tell them I had found egg nog this early.

And who can discount turning the lights on the Christmas tree, making a fire, relaxing with a cup of egg nog, listening to The Christmas Song, and watching the snow fall outside?

I know none of this is associated with Christ and what Christmas is really all about. But I have wonderful memories associated with some of these traditions. I want to celebrate Christmas in a way that brings glory to God but I also really like egg nog.

So I ask: am I the only one that looks forward to the little traditions like egg nog and classic Christmas carols? Is it wrong to be excited about experiencing those things once a year? Can I resist a consumerist mentality and honor God with what I do in the season, all the while participating in the traditions I enjoy? Or do they conflict with each other? Advice?

Written by Anonymous

[Leave a comment by clicking on “Comments” underneath the article’s title]

8 Responses to “But I Also Really Like Egg Nog …”

  1. 1 Nancy November 11, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    I think God is all about traditions that remind us of who He is, bring us back to important things, and enable us to have rhythm to our days. After all, think of all the feasts he instituted for Israel to observe throughout the year.

    As long is we don’t do so much that we aren’t able to worship fully,
    Or cling to our traditions in a way that keeps us from loving others,it seems that traditions are a good tool.

    So I say – Eggnog for Jesus!

  2. 2 D November 11, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    My wife and I have decided to start our own AC tradition. This is our first year. We hope to celebrate with our own age old traditions (we too like egg nog).

    Can we resist? Yes, I think. I am trying to put together a meaningful present for my wife, and I have been so excited about it, that it has been easy for me to resist going for the easy consumer purchase. Assuming I can pull it off, she will be much more satisfied with the present.

    For a run-down on my gift (and a chance to contribute), visit http://www.motherletter.blogspot.com. There is also a place for other conspirators to share what they are doing.

  3. 3 Holly November 11, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I look forward to apple-picking and hot cider in the fall, the arboretum in the spring, and water sports in the summer; it seems that there are plenty of things to look forward to in the winter as well – egg nog, family traditions, snow, and cozy fires… Enjoying winter and celebrating Christmas are both good things and I hope to do both of them well this year.

  4. 4 Susanna Brown November 11, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Absolutely, you can enjoy certain traditions and still celebrate Advent fully! I agree with Holly–we, who live in Wisconsin, enjoy other activities and traditions with the changing seasons, and there is no reason to not enjoy the winter traditions. What is sad is that here in the west “Madison Avenue” has controlled what is marketed and what we do all year around, so that we only get egg nog before Christmas, and Cadbury’s caramel eggs at Easter, and so on. This makes it difficult to buck the system and drink egg nog whenever we want to, and to not have such strong associations of food and drink with ONLY certain holidays.
    As we heard in Sunday’s message, from Deuteronomy ch. 8, the people of Israel were given MANY good things to enjoy when they entered the promised land. Moses did not tell them they could not enjoy the good things, he told them that they were not to consider that they had produced all of this by their own power. They were to remember that it ALL came from God who had ALWAYS been faithful to them.

    So, at Christmas when we remember that Jesus was born as a human on earth, we may enjoy good things but we MUST remember where these good things come from. If we grasp this concept, then we have freedom to avoid rampant consumerism, while sharing some of the good things that God has given us with those who have little.

  5. 5 Rae November 11, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    These are interesting dilemmas that you bring to my attention. I have never really made a connection between the Christmas traditions that I love and the possibility that they may inhibit me from worshiping more fully.
    In fact, I find that the little traditions that I love so fully…the eggnog, decorating the house, curling up with my family to watch The Christmas Story on Christmas day… actually do more to make me more aware of the gift that was given to us on the day that God gave us His son in the form of a baby.
    So I see the problems that you may see appearing. But let’s look at the traditions you suggested: They are all relational. They draw you in more to the people that you are sharing the experience with, right?
    In that, I believe that the traditions you are worried about are actually the traditions that Christ would want you to enjoy on a holiday such as this. He gave Himself relationally so that we may participate in relationship.

    So I think you should enjoy your eggnog with your family around the fire. I believe fully that, inadvertently, you are realizing the intention of Christmas.

  6. 6 Robert Deyes November 12, 2008 at 9:20 am

    I have to say that I also love Egg Nog. My family and I came to the United States almost 8 years ago from the UK and egg nog is one of the traditions that we have grown very fond of. Christ has blessed us with the goodness that comes from family traditions- as you illustrate so well traditions often bring us beautiful memories………

  7. 7 mary November 12, 2008 at 11:28 am

    “I want to celebrate Christmas in a way that brings glory to God but I also really like egg nog.” This is one of the best sentences of the season – I love the honesty in this. Plus, it still makes me laugh everytime I read it. Awesome.

  8. 8 Melody November 21, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    We have an Egg Nog tradition with cheese & sausage, while we decorate our tree and listen to the first Christmas music of the season. My kids love it and insist on it each year.

    Traditions are so important to us, especially to children, as evidenced by the ones you mentioned that are special to you. I don’t think any of those traditions take away from the deeper meaning of Christmas.

    What does take away from our experience is the materialistic focus (that we all have.) Consider the evenings and weekends we spend simply “window shopping” or actually shopping for all the gifts we “have” to get.

    If we spent even a small percentage of our time reading some traditional Christmas stories with our kids, or singing around the piano, or you name it — whatever brings our eyes back to the real meaning of the season — consider how different this season might be.

    My last church held an Advent service on Wednesdays in December, which was an amazing opportunity before Christmas to focus a bit. I’m sure there are other services in that nature which focus on the true meaning of Christmas through song and word.

    My thinking is keep the wonderful, fun traditions, and add some Christ-focused ones as well.

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Love All

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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