Tag Archives: Christmas

A gift to be simple

9 Jan

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
~ 1848 Shaker song by Elder Joseph Brackett.

Today we packed away the majority of the Christmas decorations.  The tree we’ll finish tomorrow.  We leave our decorations up through Epiphany or the first weekend after because we like to celebrate the full Christmas season.  It ended very nicely for us last night with friends over for some good food, good wine and good fellowship.

As we were boxing things away we edited down.  We probably could afford to do that again.  My wife made the comment that we were very blessed and how it seems somewhat extravagent to have dishes we use only once a year.  But a good two boxes of Christmas decorations in good shape that we just don’t need are going to charity this week.

There are still way to many boxes too be stored.  And in this day of economic uncertainty that just seems a little excessive.

I have for the last couple of years been intrigued by the call of the Advent Conspiracy to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All.  We didn’t quite make it this year.  Snow and travel kept us from Church the Sundays before and after Christmas, although we did make Christmas Eve Communion.  We spent more than we planned and more than we should have.  Of course that spending was in trying to give more.  We have a long way to go towards loving all. 

But the point is that we want to get there.  So we’ll keep trying.


I don't think Christmas was ever really meant to make us insane

26 Dec

I posted a family Christmas picture on Facebook. My son said “the dog looks freaked out.” I’m pretty much thinking that by that point in the day, we all were.

But we weren’t supposed to be.

I’ve searched all over for a link to Saturday Night Live’s “Dysfunctional Family Christmas” because it’s one of my favorites. Apparently it was pulled from You Tube for copyright reasons. And it’s not posted on the SNL site (as far as I can tell).

That’s not really the story of our family, but most of us do share in the holiday family stress.

My wife and I decided to try to make this year as stress free as possible. It hasn’t been the best of years. My mother-in-law passed away, we had to put the cat down, our son lost both his car (it finally just gave up the ghost) and his job, and we had a home break-in.

So we scaled back where we could, fewer Christmas decorations outside and in, no purchases on credit, and simple, simple, simple, right down to disposable plates for Christmas dinner. And it was just fine. The most stressful point in the day came when I realized I’d purchased the wrong Nintendo DS game for the eight-year-old. And yes, that’s the only receipt I can’t find.

I even joined the Advent Conspiracy which called for us to worship fully, spend less, give more and love all. We managed the spend less part, and we’re working on the others.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good Christmas for us.

Not so around the world. So, in spite of all that’s happened to us this year, I look at these stories and remember that we’re still very, very fortunate.

SWAC Girl: Lowe’s employee says she was fired over Christmas pin
Check out this story by a woman who said her, “It’s CHRISTmas for Christ’s sake” pin, given to her by a customer when she admired it, got her fired by Lowe’s Home Improvement management. Read more.

Gunman in Santa suit kills 8, sets home ablaze in L.A. suburb, then shoots self

A man stinging from a bitter divorce went to his former in-laws’ Christmas Eve party dressed as Santa, opened fire and methodically set their Covina house ablaze, killing at least eight people, authorities said Thursday. Read more.

Wrong-way driver turns Christmas into chaos
The Columbus Dispatch

The path of destruction and fear stretched at least 5 miles yesterday morning after a 24-year-old man rocketed his car the wrong way on the South Outerbelt. Read more.

This is what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown

24 Dec

Luke 2: 1-19 (King James Version)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

We Fall Down

24 Dec

Celtic Woman – O Come All Ye Faithful

24 Dec

More than Wonderful

24 Dec

Isn't He

24 Dec

The James Family – How Beautiful

24 Dec

David Phelps – Behold the Lamb

24 Dec

Charlotte Church – Ave Maria

23 Dec