December 8, 2011
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
With Christmas around the corner, I have been thinking a lot lately about the "reason for the season" as many would say. Especially as a new parent of an already three year old, I have been battling what to teach Dalencia about Christmas. In a county where poverty is norm, giving her an abundant amount of presents from an unknown man named Santa Clause seems quite absurd. Without any knowledge of snow, songs like "White Christmas", "Jingle Bells", "Frosty the Snowman" and many more are meaningless to her. She doesn't even have a frame of reference for "Roudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" because there are no deer in Haiti, let alone magical ones that fly around the planet one night a year. And forget being able to head to the local tree farm to purchase a tree for the inside of our home. That's just crazy!
For these reasons, I have been thinking a lot about what kind of Christmas we are going to raise Dalencia to celebrate. Am I going to teach her about Santa- a man who will bring presents to her once a year with the condition that she remains off the naughty list? Or am I going to raise her to know a Christmas based on giving, family, love, and most of all the gift her Heavenly Father gave her- Jesus.?
Despite the fact that Jesus was probably not born on December 25, I love the idea of celebrating His birth. I love celebrating that we have a Father who loved us too much to sit and Heaven and watch us fail at the law over and over again. I love celebrating that our God became a man to live among us and get to know us. I love celebrating that our Savior died so that we might live. And I love celebrating that fact that the Spirit of God now lives in me and that He daily calls me to serve in His kingdom. And although I am beyond thankful every day for Jesus, I love the idea of coming together as a family and giving Him all the glory and praise He deserves this holiday season. And really, just think about all the celebrating you do for your own birthday. How much more celebrating do you think Jesus deserves for His?
I am a HUGE fan of Christmas. I love the snow, a warm fire place, Christmas music 24/7, the food, time with family, sweater wearing, the decoration, the giving of gifts, and even the receiving of gifts. I'd be a liar if I told you that I don't really care to find presents with my name on them under the Christmas tree. I still get just as excited today as I did when I was four! I have always been one to start listening to Christmas music in early November and I practically forced my parents growing up to put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving.
But now, things are different. I think partially it is because I am now a parent and responsible Dalencia's view of Christmas. But I also think that my idea of Christmas is changing so much because I have been out of America for so long. I have completely bypassed the Christmas hype this year- the commercials, the movies, the radio, and the stores. Yes, I am still playing my Amy Grant Christmas CD ( a classic if I do say so myself). Yes, I have a Christmas tree made out of construction paper in my living room. And yes, I even ordered Dalencia 3 presents. But despite my love for the holiday, I am trying to refocus and reevaluate my heart. I don't want to let Christmas simply become a time of year when I allow myself leeway to be a little too selfish, a little too focused on materialism, and a little too in love with things that in the end will only perish.
Instead I want Christmas to becomee about giving, sharing, serving, and love. I want to honor Jesus on Christmas- not with presents that can fit in pretty wrapped boxed, but with gifts of the Spirit. And I think that is how I want Dalencia to see Christmas too.
This year, we will celebrate Christmas at the CHCH. Although Hunter and I will be in the States with our family on the actual holiday, we will celebrate early. We have some friends who put the spirit of giving into action and this year our children will be the recipients of gifts- not from Santa- but from their Christian family. This year, we will be a family at the CHCH. We will open gifts, talk about God' gifts in our lives, worship Him, and serve one another.
I love Christmas. I really do. It really is "the most wonderful time of the year". But it is wonderful not because of presents and food and music. It is wonderful because our Savior came to Earth to love us and save us. It is wonderful because of the gifts He gives us, not the gifts we give one another.
So this Christmas put up your trees, hang your lights, blast the Christmas music, and wrap your gifts. These things are wonderful, fun, and joyous. But as a Christian, choose to not just "remember" God's gifts to you, but celebrate them, share them with others, and give Him all the glory.
Love you all. Merry Christmas!