At least, that's what Christmas is all about according to Cliff. Yup, aired out my new Christmas CD today. I figure that it is December, so Christmas really isn't that far away. We even put up our trees, nativity and lights today. Munchkin thought it was a blast!
I so want Christmas to be a time of wonder, excitement and mystery for him. I want him to wake each Christmas morning with a buzz of excitement! I remember how hard it was going to sleep on Christmas Eve each year, the fun of special gifts and special food on Christmas Day. I want all that for Munchkin.
But more than that, I find my heart echoing the sentiments of Frugal Trenches. She wrote recently, "I want for my children a life where they are content with what they have, where they don’t need to follow the herd in the idea of what “normal” is, where they are happy to give and live a life poured out in all the ways that matter. Where their souls believe in the most important things: gentleness, compassion, faith, hope and love. Where their lens of life is focused on people, not things."
So I've been thinking about conspiring again. Wonder what on earth I'm going on about? Watch the cool You-Tube clip below...
Advent Conspiracy. A conspiracy to return to the roots of Christmas, to focus on Jesus and on giving the way he gave...with compassion, love, and determination. To give our time, to give ourselves. Even the Wise Men gave of themselves, travelling great distances to bring their gifts and bowing their knee before a peasant girl's baby (incidentally, I heard once that their gifts may well have been the means of Jesus' and his family's survival in Egypt - being an Israelite, Joseph may not have been able to work as a carpenter there, so they might have sold those incredibly valuable gifts in order to survive until it was safe to return to Israel - interesting thought, that even these kingly gifts were perhaps carefully selected to fulfill a very important purpose. But I digress...).
Conspiring. To spend less, and give more. Through this conspiracy, this bypassing of some of the commercial hype of Christmas, thousands of people have received clean water. Diseases from dirty drinking water are the single greatest killer of children worldwide. And as followers of Jesus, remembering that he came to be our 'Living Water,' what better gift could we give at Christmas?! We still give to our loved ones, just a little less stuff that's all. We might give them something a little smaller, perhaps something we made, or some of our time. And instead we give to people who may otherwise never know what Christmas is about. As Jesus said he came for the sick, the hurt, the lonely, the downtrodden, I think He would be really proud of us doing something like this.
So yes, I am a fan of Advent Conspiracy, although I've done it for years without realising it had a name!
This year, we are getting a family gift. We don't give presents in our family at Christmas. This is a tradition from my family, and one I actually really love. I feel so less pressured at Christmas, without a mile long list of 'to buys'. But it can feel a bit flat, not getting a single gift at Christmas...all that's left is the food, and I'm trying to curtail our gluttony a little there too. So I'm working on some Christmas traditions. Like making our Christmas cake the week before. Giving a family photo to our extended family (that's our Christmas gift to them). Telling the Christmas story. Having our Christmas stockings. Wrapping Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. And having a family gift. Didn't manage one last year (read: things were a bit tight). This year though, we are getting one. We're getting some Virtues Cards. They are a set of cards with 'virtues' on them (surprise, surprise!). The idea is that this is something we can use at the dinner table each night. We can each take a turn to choose a virtue, telling how either we or someone we were with that day showed that virtue. I'm really looking forward to it being a way to each share about our day.
I think Christmas is just like any other thing in our lives. There's room for compromise. There's negotiation over what is most important, and less so to us. I didn't buy candy canes this year (saving that till Munchkin is older, as they have a beautiful story to go with them). But I did buy special lollies and drinks for the Christmas stockings (Boyo wants at least some junk food for Christmas!). I bought some cut Champagne ham from the deli and popped it into the freezer, rather than a whole ham that we will be eating almost non-stop for a week and a half! But I did buy some little candles on special. Decorations always make food seem more special. We are still celebrating, just trying to do it without eating to the point of near-popping, and accumulating more things in our wee house.
We are celebrating the biggest giver our world has ever seen and will ever see! Jesus.
How are you celebrating this year? Have you thought about doing something for someone else this Christmas time?