Sunday, 7 December 2008
What makes Christmas...Christmas?
The boys have been getting up entirely too early the past few mornings (ie: 3:00am) and crawling into our bed. I'm not sure if is a noise outside, the need to "go potty", or habit at this point. But it makes for early bed times because they practically fall asleep in the bathtub. So, now that the boys are asleep, I can write down some thoughts...
I've mentioned before that this is my first holiday season outside of the States, and I'm learning each day what it's like to be away from everything you associated with Christmas.
So, a thought has been running through my head today: what makes Christmas Christmas?
Is it cookies and fudge? I did make my mom's molasses sugar cookies and they were a hit. I always knew when those cookies were made it meant it was the holidays. I always enjoy baking enormous amounts of cookies at Christmas,and will miss the post holiday sales when I typically pick up needless amounts of holiday cookie tins. (It's an unhealthy obsession, really.)
What about cultures that celebrate big things on days other than December 25??? Some Dutch congregation members brought the boys St. Nicholas Day gifts (which was last Friday I think). And Spain has larger celebrations on Epiphany, rather than Christmas day.
Is it the community holiday events that create the holiday spirit? This weekend is the Medieval Market in Denia. There are a bunch of booths set up with vendors dressed in costume, and fire jugglers, and strolling minstrels. All good fun for the boys.
Is it the presents? Specific decorations? A specific nativity set? The great family gathering? Are you turkey or ham people?
This Christmas, because I don't have the "normal" Christmas things...or should I say, my tradition of Christmas, I have the opportunity to reflect on what really makes Christmas...well, Christmas.
Our sermon series for Advent is based on Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
Christmas, regardless of whether you exchange gifts on December 5, 25, or January 6, whether you put up Christmas trees or stick to nativity scenes, whether you bake cookies or make mountains of fudge, whether you have Salvation Army kettles or no...Christmas is the moment, the experience, the realization that we have a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace..and for that we celebrate!