New Christmas Traditions

The day after Christmas can be boring, even depressing. The packages are gone from under the tree, anticipation easily gives way to disappointment as loved ones head home and reality sets back in. Even the music, which was so magical just days ago, is a reminder that Christmas is over.

In anticipation of this reality, we began looking for traditions to make the most out of the season. That quest led us to an amazing adventure. We spent this morning at the local crisis shelter for women and children.It was AWESOME!

Eight kids and three mamas joined us; we had quite the crowd . Kids were slow to warm up, but big girls really helped out, loving on the little ones and making each one feel special. Expecting kids to be a bit shy, we started with games, then made zany New Year’s Eve hats. Everyone loved the activity and the hats turned out great. Everyone had so much fun that we lost track of time!! Before we knew it, the morning was gone.

Perhaps taking your children to a crisis shelter the day after Christmas is a bit unusual, but we have always been unconventional. And, the family has all agreed; we want to go back. Now we just have to figure out when!

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What is in a Christless Christmas?

T’is the season for school Christmas programs. All around town, parents are packing into crowded auditoriums for an hour so they can listen to their child’s 30 second part. It was our pleasure to pack into a not-so-crowded auditorium recently, for our neighbor’s Christmas program.

The theme of this year’s program was “What Christmas is All About.” And the children proceeded to explain it to the audience with great enthusiasm. As we sat listening to young children sing and shout what Christmas is all about, my heart grew heavier and heavier. Christmas, according to the program, is about food, gifts, decorations, spending time together with family and friends, and (most importantly) love. But why? The darling elementary children didn’t really have an answer.

Sadly, most of the people preparing for Christmas right now don’t have an answer either. As you finish up your Christmas shopping, hustling and bustling with your packages, remember that most of those around you have no idea what Christ has to do with Christmas. They celebrate an empty holiday with empty hearts that won’t be filled by the presents under the Christmas tree or anything else in our politically correct winter celebration (which is all you have left after you remove Christ from Christmas).

What are we to do, with this Christless Christmas our culture has embraced? Instead of being frustrated or irritated with lost people who behave in a lost way, I have a challenge for you; will you bring Christ into Christmas as you interact with people? A smile and a kind word for the checker at the department store (you’d be surprised how unkindly they are treated this time of year), an extra tip for the waitress where you eat lunch or the barista where you buy coffee, perhaps a gift for your postal delivery person, the garbage man, or the kid who delivers your paper. Jesus is the light of the world; join me in letting His light shine in the darkness this holiday season.