Rethinking Christmas…

Keri shared this blog post from Ann Voskamp with me last night and I found the ideas presented here worthwhile to consider as we rethink our approach to Christmas.  The struggle in our consumer driven world is to resist the temptation of making Christmas all about the gifts bearing OUR name beneath the tree.  I want our family…our children…to know the real meaning of Christmas.  We haven’t forsaken the idea of giving gifts to one another, but we are taking greater efforts this year to ensure Jesus knows we are there to celebrate Him, not us.  Maybe this list will give you some ideas on how you can rethink your Christmas. 

Enjoy this post…

So for over ten years now, we have nothing under the Christmas tree here, and I tell that crazy story and people have to ask and it’s a good question:

So if you don’t exchange gifts, what do you do then on Christmas morning?

 Ten Things to Do on Christmas Morning When all the Gifts are for Him

1. Birthday for Breakfast

Serve Birthday Cake for Breakfast — with ice cream and an arch of balloons and birthday hats and light the candles and sing of wondrous grace! He has come! And for us!

Our tradition is angel food cake for the birthday cake — made with freshly ground wheat — and I think of the wheat that fell to the ground, died for us and the harvest of the many.

2. Sup with Him — Feast Fit for a King

And we make breakfast a feast fit for a king. One of our best meals of the year is reserved for Christmas breakfast — recipes we serve only for Christmas Morning Breakfast —- Victorian French Toast with whip cream and fresh fruit and a cranberry raspberry slushy drink and Sausage bake and orange juice and pineapple and we decorate with floating candles and and a nativity scene center piece and our best linens.

He’s invited us to His table, adopted us, made us one of His own— and we have time to come, to say yes to His invitation!

3. Gifts for Him, the Birthday Child

After breakfast, we gather together to give gifts to the birthday babe, the King Come —- and these are all gifts to the least of these, because Jesus Himself said, when you give to the least of these, you give to me, so we pick out more gifts from His catalogues. We don’t open presents but we open a far deeper joy.

One family writes of their creative Christmas mornings of giving Christmas gifts only to Jesus:

On Christmas morning this year, we had our oldest dress up as a wise man, and he went around the house, finding tin foil stars and taking the gifts he found there to the baby Jesus that we had in the living room. It was great!

What a creative way for kids, the whole family, to celebrate Christmas morning– tinfoil stars that have notes of donation to the least of these, a boy dressed up as a wise man, really worshipping!

It sounds, yes, terrifying, to not exchange gifts on Christmas morning, it did to me —- but the utter and unadulterated joy we unwrapped in giving away to those Jesus says He’s with, the poor. And we discovered all that He is absolutely true to His word: it is always better to give than to receive.

And when we give to them we are giving to Him, it leaves us filled and satisfied in the realest sense.

Satisfied that everything fits and nothing will be returned and no batteries are needed for we have done the one thing that is needful — touched the hem of God, murmured adoration and offered up gifts to Him.

4. Serve Him a Meal

A loaf of fresh bread to an elderly neighbor spending his first Christmas alone, a still-in-the-dark cup of coffee and an egg sandwich delivered downtown to a homeless person, ladling bowls in a soup kitchen at lunch time, delivering sticky buns and a hug to the family who buried a child this year, gifting all the neighborhood with cookies and a card rejoicing in Christ come —- serve Christ a meal this Christmas, bread of heaven come down for all the hungry.

5. Invite Him In

It may be a single relative in need of a welcoming hearth, a lonely person from your faith community, a widow from down the road, a grieving friend, a lonely stranger, but to invite someone in need to His party because Christ who came to a world that had no room in the inn now calls all to come and He calls us to His kind of hospitality.

We have done this and this is His party and this is who He wants to come — the one who feels as unwanted as He did when He came to us. So we open the door and say come and celebrate with those He came for…

6. Give Yourself Talent Show

We know a family who gives the only gift we ever can really give, the gift of ourselves, by offering a little Christmas Day Talent Show. He does a crazy little tap dance — and everyone laughs —- and she joins him —- and everyone howls. What can you give of yourself to offer to Jesus, your family, on Christmas morning?

7. Join all of Creation

We spend hours outdoors on Christmas day, joining all of Creation and the heavenly throng in giving Him praise. We walk through the bush and sing Christmas carols, we go sledding down the back hills, we play in the snow and we laugh. We’ve decorated trees outside with treats, strings of popcorn and cranberry, suet and peanut butter and, if the conditions are right, it’s the one day of the year that we pour maple syrup over snow and eat taffy — we taste and see that the Lord is good!

8. Tell the Story

Over the years, we’ve told the Christmas story on Christmas morning with cousins and kids getting dressed up and re-enacting it for us, with kids written-performed-directed puppet show, with blankets and spotlight and silhouettes. Old men have been Joseph and toddlers have been Mary and this is the story that we love to tell — to remember the gift who came.

9. Sing the Hallelujah Chorus

Sing it in the woods, on the streets, in a nursing home, a hospital hall, a prison lounge, around the piano with the family, for the next door neighbors, a shut in across town. We join the angels this day and we fill the world with the music of the Messiah here. Find a way, somewhere, to sing because isn’t this the day of all days, we need to sing?

10. Follow the Light

And come Christmas night, we follow the light and some years it’s outside in the woods, luminaries, candles in jars, lighting a path to a nativity scene and we sing worship in the deepening dark, and some windy years, its filling the house with candles and spending the last hours of Christmas day singing glory, glory, glory, glory to God in the Highest.

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