DISCLAIMER: I am sharing to share, not to express judgment on others. Stetson and I still believe that Christmastime is a beautiful time of the year. We cherish the family time, the activities, the music (I just played Silver Bells by Cece Winans yesterday and sang my heart out). It seems we are all so much more kind to one another, even those that we do not know, because of the loving energy that Christmas brings. It took me a bit longer to come to this conclusion than Stetson, he has felt weird about it for awhile. But me, being the holiday enthusiast (I will literally make up a holiday to celebrate), I did NOT want to hear it. I thought he was being a bit cynical...until I forced myself to do a bit of research and reflected on what I knew God wanted for our family.
Reason #1: We Don't Actually Focus On Jesus
Ya'll honestly, my Christmas goes like this...hot chocolate making contest, gift opening, eating, being together and watching moves, eating, a quick story about Jesus, playing games with my kids, eating and more eating.
We even set Santa up with milk and cookies and do the whole Elf on the Shelf thing leading up to Christmas, visit Santa, go see the Christmas lights, go to all the random activities (because as I said I'm EXTRA) and all the focus I usually give Jesus is Christmas songs, ,which I honestly sing mostly for nostalgia, and maybe a fifteen minute story, FIFTEEN MINUTES YA'LL and the holiday is called CHRISTmas!
I mean we do focus on Jesus at church so maybe add a measly 2 more hours to the ENTIRE season, which is approximately THIRTY DAYS.
When I reflected on it, it actually made me a bit sad. I mean i haven't done nearly as much or am as amazing as Jesus and I wish the whole world would pretend that it was my birthday and really make it about themselves! (I wish, being a figure of slang speech)
Or at least that is what the Grayson family, with me leading the charge, has been doing
If this seems familiar to you and you feel convicted, you don't have to be as extreme as making another day to celebrate Jesus's birth. You can simply just focus on Jesus more while focusing on the special people in your life a bit less.:) Everyone's family looks different and being different is OK.
Reason #2: The Research Was A Bit Disturbing
In a nutshell, the research that I have done surrounding the holiday of Christmas and other Christian holidays, is based around another religious practice of pagans. As I have seen pagans are not all bad! I tend to think of pagans in terms of blood sacrifices and death but it was just the religion of the day. They had different gods for different things, which we tend to learn about in school as an ancient way of practicing religion. One of their main holiday times was around winter solstice a.k.a. Christmastime. I realize that the powers that be at the time wanted to smoothly transfer pagans to Christianity so they thought it was easier to place Christian holidays around this time. This makes a lot of sense! But now that I know that some of our traditions can be linked to other gods, I was like wait...woah. I am not sure that I feel comfortable with celebrating at the same time as I am celebrating Jesus's birth, because in actuality, (per Reason #1 I wasn't remembering Jesus at all but instead focusing on other things that might have represented others and their beliefs). For example. as the symbol of the cross and the ritual of baptism is sacred to me, I believe that these people of ancient times were serious about their symbols and I just don't feel comfortable mixing the two anymore.
Reason #3: I Low Key Wanted To Create Another Day To Celebrate
I must admit, the last Saturday of September this year was LIT over here at the Grayson House. As I said previously, I can MAKE up an entire holiday, and in a way that is exactly what I did. We blew up balloons, hung up a "Happy Birthday" banner, made graham cracker nativity scenes, read a story of Jesus's birth, cooked all the food, watched The Star with some yummy homemade popcorn and just enjoyed one another. We had so much fun and the great part is, is that we FOCUSED ON HIM. He had a whole day that was just about the beginning of his wonderful life of love and I felt so at peace! I felt that this was what God wanted for OUR family.
Not to start a Christmas revolution.
Not to stick our noses up at others because we do things a bit different now.
Not to NOT show the love and understanding of Jesus while walking on the path God created for us.
What is so great is that we are super excited to do allll the fun Christmas things that we've mostly always done.
We're excited to spend that day and season with one another and the people we love from now on. I can hardly wait to go see the trains and stand in line to see the joy on my kiddos' faces when they see Santa. I can't wait to volunteer somewhere with the kiddos so that we can spread love to others. I can't wait to sing along with Pentatonix and drink hot chocolate in the car while riding around looking at the Christmas lights.
I believe this year we will enjoy Christmastime even more knowing that we have given Jesus an entire day cherishing and loving his life as he did 100 million times more than any party we could ever throw for him. We will also acknowledge him again and his priceless life knowing that we have given him a complete day, focusing on him alone.
So share your thoughts! What is Christmas like for you and your family?
How do you make sure you remember Jesus?
If you don't, how do you think you can incorporate him even MORE?
If you practice something else does the culture around you affect your religious practices?
I cannot wait to hear from you in the comments! :)
Until next time,