Over the years our preparation for, and celebration of, Christmas has changed. Every year, of course, is different, as family dynamics change as kids get older and move away. The emphasis of the season changes from decorations and gifts to a recognition that relationships are what is really important.
So, our effort in some areas is less than it has been. We have never been people to decorate in a big way. Some folks go way over the top (and get recognized for it). This year, our decorations are limited to the nativity scene and a Christmas tree that we carry up from the fruit cellar, fully decorated, every year. For the last couple of years, we have stopped giving gifts to each other as well. The traditional chocolate letters are under the tree, but, the stress of figuring out the right gift for people who already have everything they need and just go out and buy the things they want when they want them, was getting in the way of the joy of the season.
People are really the important thing at Christmas. Jesus came, not to bring gifts, but to save people. He didn’t care about things, he cared about people. So we celebrate with people, our family, our friends, our church community. It makes our weekends in particular, quite busy with open houses, a Candlelight Service, a performance of the Messiah enjoyed with friends, Christmas parties, and suppers with friends who we just have to see before the end of the year. This enjoyment of people will culminate this weekend with Christmas dinner with our family (roast leg of lamb this year). We will miss our oldest daughter who will stay in Edmonton this year to begin building new Christmas traditions with her husband there.
Everyone’s Christmas is different. Our retail world makes us think that without buying a lot of what they have to sell it won’t be complete. While we have not consciously adopted the message of the Advent Conspiracy our Christmases are taking on more of its ideals.