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)