Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thinking About The Advent Conspiracy

I've always loved Christmas.  And I totally love the Gift Giving Part.  Looking back, I realize some of my greatest years were when the children were tiny, which makes me know that my focus was a bit off.  I was enjoying the thrill of excited little faces perhaps more  than the birth of the Christ Child.   So when the children grew up, the glamor faded.   It became exciting again when the grand babies came along.   Now, it is time to re-evaluate and consider the best way to celebrate the birth of Christ.   (Photo:   Bonnie, Jean and Buddy about 1950.)

Christ's birth is a coming of promise, hope and a revolutionary love.    However, Christmas has become a time of  commercialization, extravagance, going into debt, major stress,  and even for some a time for regret or a season to be depressed.

Oh the memories of trying to provide gifts on Christmas Lists. It's so much fun to give -- not because there is a need, for me it is the fun of surprises.  Yet as children grew older, I watched some return those gifts which were on their list for something different of just return it for the money.   I thought I loved the shopping, wrapping and watching the opening of gifts only to discover gifts can be inferior -- causing the receiver to make efforts of thanks while inside, disappointed.    So I graduated to a new plan.  Give money, you pick out your own gift. Not a bad plan, I don't mind giving money and you do the work.  What about those times when I requested the gift be wrapped and put  under the tree and opened on Christmas.  Non of these comments or memories are grievous or complaints.  I'm just remembering how off track one can become in the celebration of the birth of Jesus our Lord.    Is all of this a celebration of Christ or a celebration of giving gifts?  (Photo: 1961, my Dad, Mom, Kevin, Marie,  Jim Eller, Jean, Ken & Bonnie.) 

Going back seventy years as a child in a family with six children.  My memory is that we each received one gift of clothing and one toy.  And Christmas was huge.   There were lots of family games, Christmas plays, Christmas Caroling and times to remember Christ and love for others.   Along the way something went awry.  (Photo:  1977 Joel)

When our children were little, I think we began to give our children the things we never had ... only to see them bored and toys broken before dinner time.  It left a bit of an empty feeling and a disgust that children can be so ungrateful, or have such little imagination.    IS IT POSSIBLE TO MAKE CHRISTMAS A LIFE CHANGING EVENT AGAIN? 

Christmas starts with Jesus.   I know that December 25 is not the literal day that Christ was born but it is the day chosen for us to celebrate HIS BIRTH and HIS GIFT to us.    It was designed to be a season where love wins, peace reigns, and our Savior and King is celebrated.   It was designed to be a time of worship as the wise men did worship.  (Photo:  1986 Joel, Sommer, Jenny Lynn.)

God's gift to us was a relationship built on love .... a time to love family and friends.   Part of my thoughts in this posting are taken from and a booklet passed out at Asbury Methodist Church.  The thought is to give the gift of TIMESpend time with those you love.  Time to make a gift that turns into the next family heirloom.  Or time to play with the children or bake a special cookie recipe together and sing old Christmas songs.   Give a gift to someone who has nothing and has a need.  Give less gifts this year.  (Photo 1994: Sommer, Jennifer, Joel, Jenny Lynn, Jean & Kevin.)

I don't think I am spiritually mature enough to cut out the Christmas Gift Giving and the spending of money.   But I might be able to cut back on it.  With the economy tight, it is the perfect year to begin a new practice.   Give the gift of time, the gift of building relationships, the gift of loving one another.  And the greatest gift of all would be surrendering more of self to Christ ... MORE OF HIM AND LESS OF ME.
(Photo 1988 Joel, Jenny Lynn, Jean Sommer, Kevin)


  1. I agree! (So ... when are you coming over?)

    Kevin S.

  2. I always loves singing Christmas carols together and reading the christmas story as a family and the various nativity sets to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.
    Yes, Let's get together!

  3. Great post mom! It's really hard not to get caught up in the whirlwind of Christmas when it should be a peaceful season! Love all the old photos!