A perfect blend of secular and non-secular celebrations
Authored by: Judi McLaren
As the holiday season approaches, the world is filled with twinkling lights, festive decorations, and the joyous spirit of giving. However, amidst the hustle and bustle of shopping and gifting, it's essential to remember the true essence of Christmas. This blog post aims to explore the importance of returning to the old faith traditions of Christmas, the significance of children understanding the biblical side of the holidays, and how the spirit of Christmas brings us closer.
When I was a child, growing up in simpler times was never questioned. The new decade of the 1970s was still enthralled by the hopes and visionary dreams of Martin Luther King Jr, John F, and Robert "Bobby" Kennedy. If the trio had their way combined, we all would have been a global family coexisting in a new Camelot on a colonized planet somewhere in the star-filled universe.
My fondest memories are reserved for Holiday times, especially Christmas. Never an overly religious family, the teaching of our parents always made it imperative that we understand why it was so important to give of ourselves, to be humble to the words in the Bible, and to keep faith and family first before getting caught up in the commercialized glitz of the almighty dollar. To be thankful to receive perhaps two larger presents and a smattering of tiny trinkets in a regular stocking.
A trip to the city orphanage was a tradition also kept alive in our house. Armed with hand-knitted hats, mitts, and scarves that Mom worked on throughout the year were always truly appreciated by parentless children, and in return, we were given gifts of hymns and songs of the season. Perhaps that's why, to this day, when I hear the stirring words and musical swell in "Adeste Fidelis," "O Holy Night," and yes, "The Little Drummer Boy," my heart is filled with joy, and I tear up.
The simplicity of youth still embraces me like a warm, loving hug from my parents and a cup of hot chocolate while trying in vain to stay awake while watching Clarence, the angel-in-training borrowing faith from the residents of Bedford Falls to give to George Bailey. From "It's A Wonderful Life"; circa 1946. Directed by Frank Capra
At its core, the True Essence of Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It's a time to reflect on his embodied teachings of love, kindness, and humility. In the modern world, the commercialization of Christmas often overshadows these fundamental aspects.
Returning to the old faith traditions of Christmas allows us to reconnect with these values and instill them in our children. Understanding the Biblical Side of Christmas In a world where Santa Claus and presents often take center stage, it's crucial for children to understand the biblical side of Christmas.
This doesn't mean stripping away the fun and excitement of the holiday season. Instead, it's about incorporating the story of Jesus' birth and the values he taught into our celebrations. This can be done through activities like reading biblical stories, attending church services, or even through nativity plays.
The spirit of Christmas: Bringing us closer
The spirit of Christmas is not just about giving and receiving gifts; it's about love, togetherness, and goodwill towards all. It's a time when families come together, communities unite, and we reach out to those less fortunate. This spirit of unity and love brings us closer, not just to our loved ones but also to our faith.
The Perfect Gifts: Religious Without Being Obvious
Gift-giving is a significant part of Christmas celebrations. However, the perfect gift can be something other than the most expensive or the most popular. It can be something that subtly reflects the religious essence of Christmas. A beautifully illustrated children's Bible, a piece of jewelry with a cross, or even a donation to a charity in the recipient's name can be meaningful gifts that embody the spirit of Christmas.
The Perfect Mix: Secular and Non-Secular
Finding the perfect mix of secular and non-secular celebrations can seem challenging in a world full of overboard gifting and spending. However, it's about striking a balance. Enjoy the secular traditions like decorating the Christmas tree, baking cookies, and exchanging gifts, but also make time for non-secular traditions like attending church services, reading the nativity story, and reflecting on the values Jesus taught.
In conclusion, returning to the old faith traditions of Christmas doesn't mean abandoning the fun and excitement of the holiday season. Instead, it's about incorporating these traditions into our celebrations to create a more meaningful and enriching Christmas experience. After all, the true spirit of Christmas lies not in the gifts under the tree, but in the love and goodwill we share with others.
As we gather this year, let us pledge to be thankful for all we have, for the years passed, and for those to come, for the renewal of faith can be found in the new word as gifted by the old.
" And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" Luke 2:8-14 as updated and inferred from Isaiah 9: 6-7
And so it is, from our global family at Jerusalem Export House to yours, blessings of the season, and may we all walk the paths of childhood innocence guided by His holy hand.