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Capturing the wonder of Christmas

This year, I bought myself a present.

weihnachtspyramide

I took pretty much all of the money I had left from my blogging account and purchased myself one of my favorite Christmas traditions from my time in Germany: a Kerzenpyramide.

Each eveving when I light the candles, the children sit, waiting in anticipation for the blades to begin to turn. The shadows dance on the ceiling and the figures of the nativity begin to make their trek around and around. Asa’s eyes fill with wonder and I begin to tell him the Christmas story.

He hears it in snippets. One night, it is about the little lambs, under the care of their faithful shepherds while they graze. Another night, it is the angels singing. They are his favorite because he is still young enough to love listening to his mother sing. Each night we add on or repeat small pieces of the story as his eyes fill with wonder and his heart with joy.

I am a story teller at heart. I love how simple objects and favorite stories can capture the imagination of a child and carry them with you on a little adventure. The Christmas season is filled with object lessons and traditions passed down from generation to generation. There are so many opportunities to share the stories of my childhood, tell them about family members they hardly know and to draw in lessons from our faith.

It gives continuity between past and present . . . and each year it challenges me. Because this is more how I want parenting to look all year, not just at Christmas. “Here a little, there a little,” stories shared by the wayside, teaching about life while simply living it.

Because this is where connections are made.

Merry Christmas!

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‘Tis the season to be boycotted

Every year, Christmas seems to be thrust into the center of the culture wars as businesses determine how to promote their goods to us and we decide just how upset we are at being wished a Happy Holiday.  My concerns began with an email alert I received from the American Family Association regarding the lack of the word “Christmas” in Costco’s holiday, er, Christmas, marketing campaign.

TAKE ACTION

Send your email to Costco.

Let Costco know that you will exercise “your privilege” of shopping only at stores that recognize Christmas. Remind Costco that their competitors are vying for your business too, and you will shop accordingly.

So far as I can remember, I’ve never set foot inside a Costco, so my scathing emails and promises to “shop accordingly” would mean very little. Of course, they don’t need to know that, but that is what started my musing. That and being told to boycott. That sort of strikes at my rebellious nature and really isn’t the best way to get me to do much of anything…especially when it comes in the form of an email newsletter I can only assume I signed up for at some point.

Anyway, that led to the Naughty and Nice lists put out by The American Family Association and The Liberty Counsel.  And I just noticed this, but what am I to do with Barnes and Nobles? They made the AFA’s “Naughty List” and the Liberty Counsel’s “Nice List.”

I’m a rather conservative Christian. Perhaps a bit too conservative even for the AFA and The Liberty Counsel for as I look down the Nice List, I’m not impressed by well-meaning companies paying honor to my Lord and Savior.  Instead I see a list of companies who would very much like to replace any Christian meaning there may be in the season with the Almighty Dollar. The name of my Lord and Savior is slapped on sales, bath soaps, cookbooks, linens and toys, all to be delivered in time for Christmas in hopes of clinching a sale. I wonder sometimes what exactly Christ would say if he were to walk through the “naughty” Bloomingdale’s or the “nice” Macy’s.

How dare you remove my name from your holiday flyer!

Er, Christmas flyer.  That seems stranger yet. And a bit out of character. But as a Christian, I’m supposed to “take on the mind of Christ.” To be His light to a fallen world. And it really seems there are ways to do that which are much more effective than engaging in what comes across to me as a publicity stunt to garner attention to a cause outside of the mission of the Church.

No man will live or die, be saved or condemned based on the welcome phrases used at a place of business.  If I had my druthers, I would much prefer to have the name of Christ connected with missions to aid the poor, the widows and the orphans than to have it connected to boycott after boycott of issues which are little more than expressions of cultural dissatisfaction and do nothing to help those who are truly in need.