I was standing in line at Walmart yesterday – something I do fairly often. At the next counter a little girl and her father were checking out. In their cart of purchases were several gifts because the girl had been “good” (a self-reported assessment; those of us in the area had a different opinion) and her daddy is “great” (report from the same analyst). I have a feeling that purchases for “good” behavior are pretty common in that family. And, then I got to thinking. I wonder what Christmas morning will be like for them. Will it be special? Will it be special enough?
We Americans lead amazing lives; our choices are bound only by our resources and our own self-discipline. For instance, in our little town, you can get a hot meal served to you at any hour of the day on any day of the year. There is no time (except perhaps during a hurricane) that you cannot purchase toilet paper, barbeque sauce, lawn fertilizer, or cologne. We have numerous television channels that offer drama, comedy, news, sports, religious instruction and cartoons. I can email, text, call or video-chat with almost anyone I know. (Well, I cannot really video-chat. I don’t know how to do that and have no interested in acquiring the skills.)
So, how can anything be special?
I have two suggestions. One, let’s keep special things special.
Make this year’s holiday a true celebration. Identify your most special traditions and reserve them for the most special days this Christmas season.
I’ll give you an example from the Mullins’ home. When I was little, we made the iced Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve. It added excitement and fun to gather as a family and to make the cookies. Then, we ate them from Christmas through New Year’s. Iced Christmas cookies were special.
What can you set aside to make your Christmas season more special? Maybe it is ordering that special dessert at a favorite restaurant. Or, how about setting up a family night, with popcorn and pickles, the whole family gathered together to watch that classic holiday movie?
And, my second suggestion is: let’s keep sacred things sacred.
Don’t just sing the Christmas carols this year, listen to the words. I tear up just thinking that the carols I am blessed to sing were also sung by my grandparents and my great-grandparents. This year, don’t just read the scripture passages of the Christmas story, read the word of God as if you are reading it for the first time. Don’t just take a minute to say grace before your holiday meal, hold the hands of those around you and praise God for His love and His gift of His son, Jesus.
I guarantee that when we keep special things special, our joy will be greater. And, when we keep sacred things sacred, our faith will increase.
“I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” (Isaiah 45:2-3)
A special thing that we started when the kids were little goes like this. There were many years that Forrest had to work on Christmas day (the water department, like hospitals and police stations, never close). So, to make the day more special as we were waiting for Forrest to arrive home, the kids & I would work together to set the most beautiful table ever for our Christmas meal together. We’d get out the fine china, the goblets (for our favorite soft drinks), the special tableware, and beautiful centerpieces. All would be ready for the time when Forrest/Daddy would come home to make our traditional Christmas dinner — hamburgers/cheeseburgers, fixed out on the grill, with fresh-from-the oven french fries! It worked every time and is still our favorite Christmas dinner! As a matter of fact, we hardly ever use the fine china any other time during the year! I agree with you, keep the special things special, and the sacred things sacred!
Kathy, What a marvelous tradition. And, what a positive approach to what others might see as an impossible situation. Girl, you are creative! May God bless you and Forrest for teaching your kids about service and family and faith!!! Jill