Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas thoughts

Well today we are getting ready to start getting decorations out and going to pick up the tree tomorrow afternoon. I just can't seem to get in the spirit of it all right now.. usually the day after Thanksgiving I'm up and running and ready to pull everything out of the attic. I'm thinking it must be because it's so hard to spend money these days. After years and years of not really worrying "too much" about spending, now with the economy the way it is and people's jobs on the line and millions going hungry and loosing jobs, just all seems sad and not reason to celebrate. I know we celebrate Christmas because of Jesuss' birth, it's just hard for me in the "buying gifts department" of it all to NOT buy for everyone everything on their list. I know you might say well then "make some gifts"... well if you know me at all you know I am not crafty and never have been. So that option is out. So what to do... that is the question of the day? Also as you know time is limited so homemade stuff is really not an option for me. I've already told my kids that this year will be slimmer, but I'm pretty sure they've heard that before and it's never been slim! I worry they won't be happy, I don't want to disappoint them on such a big day. Am I selfish in wanting to buy them all on their lists and what do you do when you can't. I guess they are just too far past the "spoiled" stage and that's where my concerns are now coming into play. Am I making too much of this, do you understand where I'm coming from? Tell me your thoughts and ideas.. brainstorm with me!!


Jonatha said...

I'm sure you've heard this before, but we do 3 gifts for our each of our girls - Jesus received 3 so that should be enough for them. We do a gift of the spirit (Holy Spirit), a gift of the body (Jesus), and a gift for the mind (God). We don't do big things, but we do fill their stockings with yard sale things or dollar tree gifts. It seems like a lot, but it really isn't!

Anonymous said...

I love Jonatha's Christmas guidelines! We all need to follow it and stick with it, great ideas. Just think how much money is spent on superficial "stuff", we need to gift each other really personal items that mean something. let's keep Christ in Christmas. Love to all - Nina

Amy said...

Late one Christmas Eve, I sank back, tired but content, into my easy chair. The kids were in bed, the gifts were wrapped, the milk and cookies waited by the fireplace for Santa. As I sat back admiring the tree with its decorations, I couldn't help feeling that something important was missing. It wasn't long before the tiny twinkling tree lights lulled me to sleep.

I don't know how long I slept, but all of a sudden I knew that I wasn't alone. I opened my eyes, and you can imagine my surprise when I saw Santa Claus himself standing next to my Christmas tree. He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot just as the poem described him, but he was not the "jolly old elf" of Christmas legend. The man who stood before me looked sad and disappointed, and there were tears in his eyes.

"Santa, what's wrong?" I asked, "Why are you crying?"

"It's the children," Santa replied sadly.

"But Santa, the children love you," I said.

"Oh, I know they love me, and they love the gifts I bring them," Santa said, "but the children of today seem to have somehow missed out on the true spirit of Christmas. It's not their fault. It's just that the adults, many of them not having been taught themselves, have forgotten to teach the children."

"Teach them what?" I asked.

Santa's kind old face became soft, more gentle. His eyes began to shine with something more than tears. He spoke softly. "Teach the children the true meaning of Christmas. Teach them that the part of Christmas we can see, hear, and touch is much more than meets the eye. Teach them the symbolism behind the customs and traditions of Christmas which we now observe. Teach them what it is they truly represent."

Santa reached into his bag and pulled out a tiny Christmas tree and set it on my mantle. "Teach them about the Christmas tree. Green is the second color of Christmas. The stately evergreen, with its unchanging color, represents the hope of eternal life in Jesus. Its needles point heavenward as a reminder that mankind's thoughts should turn heavenward as well."

Santa reached into his bag again and pulled out a shiny star and placed it at the top of the small tree. "The star was the heavenly sign of promise. God promised a Savior for the world and the star was the sign of the fulfillment of that promise on the night that Jesus Christ was born. Teach the children that God always fulfills His promises, and that wise men still seek Him."

"Red," said Santa, "is the first color of Christmas." "He pulled forth a red ornament for the tiny tree. Red is deep, intense, vivid. It is the color of the life-giving blood that flows through our veins. It is the symbol of God's greatest gift. Teach the children that Christ gave his life and shed his blood for them that they might have eternal life. When they see the color red, it should remind them of that most wonderful gift."

Santa found a silver bell in his pack and placed it on the tree. "Just as lost sheep are guided to safety by the sound of the bell, it continues to ring today for all to be guided to the fold. Teach the children to follow the true Shepherd, who gave His life for the sheep."

Santa placed a candle on the mantle and lit it. The soft glow from its one tiny flame brightened the room. "The glow of the candle represents how people can show their thanks for the gift of God's son that Christmas Eve long ago. Teach the children to follow in Christ's foot go about doing good. Teach them to let their light so shine before people that all may see it and glorify God. This is what is symbolized when the twinkle lights shine on the tree like hundreds of bright, shining candles, each of them representing one of God's precious children, their light shining for all to see."

Again Santa reached into his bag and this time he brought forth a tiny red and white striped cane. As he hung it on the tree he spoke softly. "The candy cane is a stick of hard white candy. White to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock the foundation of the church, and the firmness of God's promises. The candy cane is in the form of a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth. It also represents the Good Shepherd's crook, which He uses to reach down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray. The original candy cane had three small red stripes, which are the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed, and a large red stripe that represents the shed blood of Jesus, so that we can have the promise of eternal life.

"Teach these things to the children."

Santa brought out a beautiful wreath made of fresh, fragrant greenery tied with a bright red bow. "The bow reminds us of the bond of perfection, which is . The wreath embodies all the good things about Christmas for those with eyes to see and hearts to understand. It contains the colors of red and green and the heaven-turned needles of the evergreen. The bow tells the story of good will towards all and its color reminds us of Christ's sacrifice. Even its very shape is symbolic, representing eternity and the eternal nature of Christ's . It is a circle, without beginning and without end. These are the things you must teach the children."

I asked, "But where does that leave you, Santa?"

The tears gone now from his eyes, a smile broke over Santa's face. "Why you, my dear," he laughed, "I'm only a symbol myself. I represent the spirit of family and the joy of giving and receiving. If the children are taught these other things, there is no danger that I'll ever be forgotten."

"I think I'm beginning to understand."

"That's why I came," said Santa. "You're an adult. If you don't teach the children these things, then who will?"

---Author Unknown

ptamom3 said...

Thanks girls for all the words of wisdom!