Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | June 18, 2007

How I Keep a Traditional Christmas

How I Keep a Traditional Christmas

The commercialism in Christmas often bothers me, so here are few ways I try to stick to a traditional Christmas that really make a difference.

1. Remember the Reason for the Holiday No matter how much money we have or don’t have, who’s coming over for dinner or isn’t, who did or didn’t get the new computer, Jesus Christ was still born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, and this is THE reason why Christmas is celebrated. Try not to let the commercialism get to you. Instead remember the religious signifiance and the good times you have with your family and friends during this season.
2. Watch and Wait Many Christians, myself included, keep the season of Advent, which is the four weeks leading up to Christmas. I have an Advent wreath which I light each night of Advent until Christmas, using a service including prayers, a psalm, and a reading from the Bible. I also generally don’t put my decorations and tree up until a week or two before Christmas, since I leave the tree up til Epiphany. I also put my Nativity up just before Christmas, too.
3. Do Things Together As a Family During the Retail Rush Attend holiday events in your community, such as tree ligtings, parades, Christmas fairs, or anything that’s meaningful to you, even if it’s not specificaly Christmas related. Spend time having a family bake-a-thon or, instead of parking in front of the TV, play a board game that everyone likes. This is a good way to spend time together in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
4.Bigger Isn’t Always Better I’ve found that inexpensive or home-made gifts are just as meaningful as, if not more than, expensive department store gifts. Christmas commemorates God’s gift of salvation to the world in the birth of Jesus. Can any gift really compete with that? 🙂
5.Traditional Christmas Eve Instead of having a lot of friends and family over or going to a party, usually we go to an early church service, come home and do something fun, like playing a game while listening to music, and everyone can open one gift if they’d like to before going to bed.
6.Christmas Day One suggestion I’ve thought of on Christmas Day, to keep everyone focused, is to read the story of Jesus’ birth from either the Gospel of Matthew or Luke before opening the presents, or a story such as The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. This is a good way to stay focused on the true meaning of the holiday.
7.The Twelve Days I also typically keep the Twelve Days of Christmas, lasting from Christmas Day til Epiphany on January 6. During this time, many families give smaller presents to each other throughout the 12 days with one more special present being given to everyone on Epiphany.

These are just a few of the ways I try to keep Christmas more meaningful. I hope we can all find ways to keep Christmas a special, and sacred, holiday.

P.S.-The last few weeks leading up to Christmas this year have seen some nasty confrontations over holiday displays and events that are “too religious” or “too secular”. In light of these incidents, I’m offering a final reflection for consideration. Arguments about the origins and the dating of Christmas aside, Christmas celebrates the birth of our Saviour Jesus into the world for our redemption. While families gathering together and gift-giving have become a part of the holiday, many have forgotten that this is the second-most sacred holiday for Christians. The secularization of Christmas has partially lead to some of the confrontations that occur between different faiths over the holiday season and caused it to be a time of sadness for many when it should be a time of rejoicing. For those who celebrate Christmas without acknowledging Jesus as their Saviour, or those whose Christmas celebrations are without any worship of Him, it is my prayer that you will recognize the Good News that Christmas is all about-God came among us as Jesus to set us free from our sins. If you haven’t read of the birth of Christ in Luke 2:1-20 or it’s been a long time, I think you’ll be encouraged.

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