Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

I Got Nothing for Christmas

          I got nothing for Christmas and it was great! In our continued quest for simplification Pat and I managed to escape the “hustle and bustle” of the Christmas season and it was a great experience. Our time was more centered on family, enjoying each others company and most of all the true meaning of Christmas. We had our traditional family Christmas Eve gathering at our old church with two rows of Weese’s seated in the sanctuary spanning four generations. It was truly special. You see I actually did get something for Christmas, the blessing of family and friends. Nothing wrapped and placed under a tree could come anywhere close.

         As I still try to adjust to this new season of our life (the empty nest, grandparent thing) I must admit that I miss those Christmas mornings when we would prepare the family room with music, Christmas lights and hot chocolate before allowing the kids to come down and open their presents. Now they each have their own families and memory making traditions as time continues to blaze forward. We’re still a part of it but it’s different. We’re at that interesting point in life where we can view the past and the future all at once; the blessing of having parents with us to share the holiday as well as children and grandchildren with a couple of grand dogs thrown in. It’s all about legacy. While the legacy includes memories of Christmas past, family traditions and all the trimmings of the modern day yuletide season it goes far beyond all of that. It’s the intangible things that span the movement of time; love for God and love for each other. These are truly the only gifts that last.

          As I watch the holiday madness unfold on the news reports with visions of people pushing, shoving and trampling each other as the security guard opens the doors to the store I wonder how things came to be this way. According to the media, Christmas success is based upon retail spending and the consumers’ ability to purchase the latest Christmas craze item. Stores stay open all night, people rush to the stores to participate in “black Friday” and finances are exhausted on purchases that otherwise would not have been made. An exhausted populace begins the New Year trying to figure out how to pay off the credit card bills as they begin to roll in after the holiday frenzy. I’m reminded of how Jesus wept over Jerusalem as they missed the time of their visitation (Luke 19:41). How many are lost in the busyness of the season and missing Jesus all together. It’s been two thousand years since He walked among us. For all but the last sixty Christmas wasn’t like this. Maybe it’s time to reflect on what Christmas meant in the past, before easy credit, rampant materialism and the neurotic pace of life “we now enjoy”. Maybe it’s time to get nothing for Christmas and get everything at the same time.

You Better Watch Out…

          Before it all starts, I want to strike the first blow at the upcoming onslaught of Christmas commercialization. Last year I stopped by the local Kmart in August only to be confronted with their display of Christmas trees with all the trimmings. That’s right it was August. Fool me once but not twice, I avoided Kmart like the plague this year, no sir they weren’t going to trap me again. Who wants to start with the whole Yuletide thing when we should be listening to the Beach Boys and riding boogie boards? I remember when they used to wait until Halloween was over before they started selling Christmas. I really want it to be like it was when I was a kid.

          The real reason I started thinking about this stuff now was because of glass cleaner. I was cleaning the car windows the other day and all looked great until I drove down the street in the sunshine and all I could see was streaks. That started me thinking about what other window cleaner I could use and I recalled a product from my childhood called “Glasswax”. This stuff came in a can and dried into a white haze on the glass.  2120485243_578de01488It didn’t streak like the ammonia based type cleaners. At Christmas time we used to purchase stencils made from wax paper with snowflakes, bells, sleighs and Santa. They were taped to the windows and Glasswax was dobbed on with a sponge to fill in the designs. Once they dried the stencils were removed and the windows were decorated for the holidays. (I understand that some people used spray snow but your true holiday artists used Glasswax).

          I also remember going with Dad to buy a real cut Christmas tree. For some reason it always seemed like the coldest day of the year which made it quite the ordeal as we painstakingly selected just the right one and then had to tie it to the car with more rope than I care to measure. It always smelled great when placed in the house and I couldn’t wait to decorate it. I think my favorite part was hanging those silver strands of icicles all around the tree as neatly asBubble lights possible.  We didn’t have them but some people I knew had the type of lights that bubbled when they warmed up. Trees didn’t have themes in those days, just lots of bright colorful decorations.

          Maybe it was just seeing it through all  the eyes of my childhood but it always seemed like a magical time of the year. It really began right after Thanksgiving and we weren’t sick of it by the time it arrived. After my last blog on credit cards I thought it might be wise if we all decided to approach the whole thing a little differently this year. So I have made a list and suggest you check it twice. This is my recipe for how to aim for a Merry Christmas this year.

  • Stay away from Kmart and the like until after Halloween or later
  • When they start playing Christmas music sixteen weeks in advance, change the station
  • When the time comes to begin thinking about it, decide to avoid the useless spending on mostly unappreciated stuff
  • Put some actual thought into doing something personal and meaningful for those you love
  • Practice random acts of kindness toward people you don’t even know
  • Spend some time reading the actual Christmas story from the Bible with family and or friends

          Now that I have espoused my holiday philosophy, let me be the the first to wish you a blessed and Christ filled Christmas. You have my permission to ignore any other mention of the subject for the next ten weeks.