Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Center of the Celebration

This year, Stephen and I spent much time analyzing why we do what we do at Christmas. We have known that we did not want to “do” Santa when we have kids, but we also asked about the other traditions of the season. 
Why do we put up a tree and lights? 

Why do we give gifts?
Why do we use the credit card to try to buy a better gift than last year?
Why is the focus of Christmas morning what we get?
These questions led us to do research on the origin of these traditions. It amazed us that the traditions we put so much effort into, are actually pagan in origin.
I know I sound like an awful cynic. But, that is not my intention. I am not asserting that any of the aforementioned things are sinful in themselves. I have no problem with families that “go all out” for Christmas. But, if you have read my blogs for any amount of time, you know that I am a thinker. It is how I am wired. I try to analyze if my actions line up with my theology.  Cause, after all, if I don’t live it, do I really believe it?
This year, the biggest question was, “Is Christ the center of my Celebration?”
As I was sitting in my living room a few weeks ago thinking about this, I looked at my Christmas tree. It was big, beautiful, bright and easily seen to those who walk in the front door or even just drive past my house. Then, I shifted my gaze across the room to the nativity scene that was set up on a shelf, off to the side of the room. When I put up my Christmas decorations, I thought, “Where will I put the tree?” I moved furniture so that it could be in the “center” of the living room. On the other hand, I gave no thought to the nativity. And, if you had visited my house, you would have noticed the tree, but you probably would not have noticed the nativity.
I don’t think there are any special powers in the figurines of a nativity. But, I realized this was a reflection of how culture has taught me to view Christmas. The tree and the presents took up such a big part of my celebration, that Christ was more of an after-thought. 
In our home, we want Jesus to be the visible center of Christmas. So, I moved the nativity to a spot right in the middle of our living room. It served as a visible reminder of the miracle of the Word becoming flesh.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

I am not yet sure what we will do differently to celebrate next year, but I do know we will be very intentional about making Jesus the center of our celebration.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I pray that you aim to make Christ the center of all you do, everyday.

1 comment:

  1. I am really so glad to have "met" you. This is exactly what I was thinking about this year as well. I was raised Catholic and my children were baptized Catholic and on Christmas Eve we went to mass. After a beautiful celebration of the birth of Jesus, the priest ended mass with talks of Santa. I was so disheartened to feel like what should have been the most Christ centered part of Christmas was now being shared with Santa Claus. This was so well said! Love it!