Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Peace

Ever since we as a family stepped out of the mad holiday rush, we have been able to watch the game from the sidelines. It's a lot more entertaining from the bleachers than down in the scrum.

No presents. No Santa. No tree. No decorations. Not even a can of Who Hash. And I don't miss it, not even a tinsel of a bit.

We don't have to fight the crowds at the shopping malls, worry about what we're going to get for Aunt What's-her-name, find just the right tree, fuss over how presents are opened, make sure everyone poses for the camera, clean up the mess, etc, etc.

On Christmas morning, we awake without an alarm, having rested well after suffering no last-minute-preparation anxieties. While the kids roll out of bed, we make cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate and serve them piping hot. With everyone gathered around, maybe with a fire crackling, we read Luke chapter two and talk about the coming of Jesus, our Savior.

No one is sad about not getting that special gift, because no one expected anything. Every child is warm, filled, and happy, even without the latest XBox game, the newest IPod, or the right label on their sweatshirts or the back pockets of their jeans. They have everything they need.

Call me a Scrooge or a Grinch, but we love it this way. And don't tell me that I'm missing out on the fun, because I understand the Christmas game very well. After all, I played it for years. I even carved the roast beast.

But now that I'm sitting back with my mug of hot chocolate, I'll just watch everyone else go crazy. The view is very interesting here on the sidelines. The madness is ... well ... enlightening.

Now if I can just find a radio station that plays something other than "Jingle Bell Rock"!

11 comments:

Pam Halter said...

What your family does is a dream of my husband's. I have to be honest and say that I'm not there yet. While we don't do Santa or have a tree, I do put some decorations and enjoy the prep of home made gifts and goodies. We don't go crazy with gifts and I avoid the mall at all costs.

Our day begins with devotions and prayer. Even though we exchange presents, the day is not frenzied or harassed.

I think we need to do what works for our individual families. The most important thing is to have our hearts and minds on God.

Pais Charos said...

I nearly always avoid the mall ... the only time I've ever gone there this year was cause that's where my eye doctor is ... and that's right next to the door, so I don't have to go far. I hate going to the mall...

I only really buy for my immediate family, but really, it's just one small present for each. I know they don't expect much and are happy with whatever I can get for them. I may also get small presents for some of my closest friends, but I don't get into that frenzied state of last minute shopping that most people get themselves into, and I prefer it that way. I mean, why does the best time of the year have to be the most stressful?

I work in a retail/customer service environment, and people (who wait till the last week to order something) suddenly blame us when we can't get their package to them in time for Christmas, even though they waited so long to place the order. They can complain and yell all the want ... it's not gonna get there.

I do like doing the decorations ... but I don't go all hog-wild. I just have lights around my windows, and wreath on the front door, and a lighted wreath above my fireplace. That's it ... I really don't need anymore. For years I never had my own place to do any decorations whatsoever, so it's nice to have the freedom now to do that.

For the past three years I've spent Christmas at my dad's. He lives in the mountains and has about 4 neighbors total. It's really nice. Just like when I visit you in TN, I feel like I'm on vacation when I'm at my dad's, and any stress that I may have just melts away. And our Christmas is really quiet, we pray, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus (that's ONE tradition we've held on to!)...and we'll have a gift for each other, that's it. It's small, quiet, and uneventful, and it's one of the most meaningful times of the year for me.

Hot chocolate and cinnamon buns? Yumm...I may have to bring some of that with me to my dad's this weekend :)

S. J. Deal said...

Christmas is my favourite holiday and when I was a kid I would have thought you were crazy. Now that I'm grown up I can see a bit of an attraction to doing it your way, at least to an extent... I do like decorating our tree with wild and different designs every year. But I wouldn't mind doing away with presents. They can be much more of a hassle then the blessing they are supposed to be. I wouldn't mind our Christmas meal being just like our regular tea parties, a little food, a few friends and family and a lot of laughter. Same as we do all year.

I think a lot of these things can and often do side-track us from what Christmas is really all about, and we loose far to easily the very reason we're celebrating admist the falling confetti that has all our attention. (To make an analogy.) The confetti isn't bad, just we lose our focus on what's really important with it falling about us.

Now, when it comes to Hot Chocolate, that is an excellent thing and it should not be given up. (I absolutely adore Hot Chocolate. Which is why in my books I'm writing it was Hot Chocolate that FINALLY reunited the Elves and Dwarves which had been kind of at silent odds until they started drinking Hot Chocolate together.) Three cheers for Hot Chocolate!

Merry Christmas!

-Shane

Galactic Overlord-In-Chief said...

Pam has a good point. Whatever works for each family. I don't think quiet would work for me yet (I'm probably still too young). I do like the tree, the decorations, the giving of gifts, and one of my personal favorites, the watching of holiday animated shows. (My mom loves Rudolph!) I've gotten gifts like Legos, Star Wars comics, and one year I got a Nintendo. Happy memories. I've recently participated in Franklin Graham's Operation Christmas Child, so I hope I was able to give some children some happy memories too. I also loved the Christmas plays at my elementary Baptist school. Those were great. Yeah, Christmas was a fun time at school, I miss those days.

BTW, now I'm going to have that song in my head after reading your post. *Sings in deep voice* "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You reeeeeeally are a heeeeel..."

And I love "Jingle Bell Rock!"

- Jason

Christian_Fantasy_Adict said...

That does sound pretty nice. Our family does it pretty much the usual way and it is sometimes hard to keep my mind on Christ.

Pais Charos said...

G.O. ... we're the same age, so you can't be "too" young :P

I love the quiet, I enjoy and rejoice in quiet. It's a gift from above. Even playing my own music isn't too noisy for me.

I guess it comes from the past few years I've either been living in the dorms (which weren't always noisy, but still...) and then with my brother and his family, which is a very stressful environment to live in, and I've been wanting and wishing and praying for "quiet" for years now.

Anonymous said...

It's really cool that your family is so into the real spirit of Christmas. I admire youre sitcking to it and giving up presents. However, I can't imagine giving up the traditions of the Christmas tree and presents. Sure, those have nothing to do with the real meaning of Christmas, but it's what we do as a family (We get our tree in the forest). I assume that you still have a Christmas feast. If you don't... well, I would highly disagree with you. We have Christmas with extended family, and it's a blast.

Clefspeare said...

Anonymous,

Yes, we eat a nice meal on Christmas, as well as most of the days surrounding it. Since so many people get vacation time, it's a great season for getting together with family and friends.

So we bake goodies and plan special meals. Food is a wonderful centerpiece for enjoying life with loved ones. We do celebrate God's provisions.

Pais Charos said...

Hehe ... not to mention your wife is a really great cook :D

S. J. Deal said...

That always helps. Good cooks run in our family, I've been rather spoiled by it. My grandmother was particularly gifted at it, she didn't even really use recipes and sometimes not even measurements but just threw things together from memory. She was really good at it, things always came out the same way. Good.

I'm so thankful there is such a thing as good food.

(I'm so sorry to intrude, but we've hit upon one of my most favourite of topics!)

Melissa said...

The way you spend Christmas must definitely sounds peaceful. I wish ours was like that.

I'd be okay with not getting anything from anyone or a tree or decorations, etc. I'm just not so sure about everyone else...