Read an article this weekend from "Today's Christian Woman". Writer Ronna Snyder talked about an experience last year that changed how she does Christmas. I've tried off and on all morning to find a link but to no avail. So, my shortened version...
Snyder was in Wal-mart last October amid all the red and green decorations which had just replaced the Halloween candy shelves. She felt that despite all her endless running, planning, decorating, shopping, etc. her peace about Christmas was nonexistent. And, it struck her: "what would Jesus think of all this blatant commercialism?"
She pictured him trying to push a cart through aisles of "perfect" trees and plastic mangers, each screaming "buy me, buy me!" while ironically "Silent Night" is being pumped in overhead.
And, she remembered Jeremiah 10.3-4 (KJV): For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
Vain customs? Hmmm...And, she had what she describes as a "holiday mindset makeover."
No tree. No decorations. No gifts. Only additional opportunities for great food and great times spent together with her family. And, they gave each other...time. Just time. Stress-free, worry-free time. "Not only time to contemplate the significance of Christ's coming to earth to save us, but time to actually 'live it'."
And, they created a list of fun and inexpensive local activities. They went bowling. They played pool. They went to the ocean (she must live in CA! LOL). They ate out. They ate in with simple, low-Momma-labor meals.
She closes her article saying, "Yes, I wrestled with the seeming sacrilege of having a nontraditional Christmas. But, unwrapping Christmas freed my heart. And, in doing so, it freed my family to have a Christmas that was more Christmas-like than any I'd ever imagined: one packed with incredible memories that'll outlast any present we could've given each other."
While I did not have this experience, I definitely find myself actively, aggressively trying to avoid the "traditional" holiday trappings and expectations. I so wish I had written this article. This gets nearly to the very center of my idea about our family Advent calendar.
And, as we consider our recent financial strains, our renewed interest in frugal living, and our desire to remain in God's will which keeps us focused on Him and not the things of this world, this article reinforces all of that and provides assurance for my efforts to continue this idea.
Finally, it also provides a salve to my worrying momma-mind that I'm not the only one who prioritizes like this despite the pressure I've felt late to conform to what's "normal" in the world.