Monday, December 5, 2011

The Reason for the Season



My friend, Michelle, shared this beautiful song/video by Shawna Edwards entitled, "Do You have Room." I hope you enjoy it.

I shouldn't even open this can of worms, but it's something I've been thinking about. I decided yesterday that Christmas, for me, is about two separate things. 1 - the message of Christ in this song, and 2 - Santa and presents and excitement. The older I get, the less I see them intertwined. I've always been one to try and focus on the Savior and mix in the Santa and pagan stuff, but really, when it comes down to Christmas day, who is it really about? Um, Santa and how much stuff I got.

If I were really die-hard about changing tradition, though, I'd probably get rid of the tree and the stockings and whatnot, but I like them. I like the presents. I like getting them. I like giving them. I like the parties. I sort of like the decorations -- just not putting them up. I like the generosity that comes out in people this time of the year. There's a lot of good that happens. There's a Family Home Evening Lesson that we even did last Monday about what decorations can symbolize, yet part of me feels that those definitions are kind of pushing it to make the pagan fit with the Christian (you also see this in a lot of the books and stories out there).  I have to admit, that if you aren't going to believe in Christ and celebrate his birth, the next best thing is probably exemplifying the goodness of St. Nick to those around you.  I guess I see it as a matter of good, better, best.  I'd say it's obviously nice to be a good person, it's better to be kind and giving toward people in the name of Santa Claus, but it's best to follow Jesus Christ and exemplify his attributes towards others.

I guess if I were to redefine Christmas, I suppose I'd keep the Santa stuff in December and move the religious part of it to Spring/Easter, rather than trying to mix it together.  But I think if I did that, the whole December Christmas stuff would kind of go the way of Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's Day and not a lot would happen -- I guess I'm not so big with traditions and holidays.  Or, I suppose I could do the Savior stuff on Christmas Eve and the Santa stuff Christmas Day, but that seems backwards to me -- shouldn't it be the Savior stuff ON Christmas?  Oh, how could you not do presents on Christmas?  Wouldn't that be kind of a let down? I guess you could justify it by the wise men brought presents to Christ and Christ is a gift to all of us. . .

Anyway, I do love Christmas.  I love the Savior and my testimony of Him.  I'm grateful for a restored Church of Jesus Christ on this earth. I'm grateful for all the other Christians and other people out there who try and make this world a better place.

Enjoy the season!

P.S.  12/6/11:  Here are a couple advent ideas that I've wanted to look more into.  1 - a 25-days Christmas book from Hands full and loving it and scriptures/ideas from LDS Women of God.  And one more from Mormon Women.

8 comments:

Andrea said...

Emily, I really enjoy your posts on this blog. Something I've considered doing - a childhood friend's parents did this every year, and it seemed so normal - Santa comes the morning of Christmas Eve, leaving Christmas day all about the Savior. So you still have the present excitement - but it happens a day earlier. Not sure if we will ever commit to doing it... but I'd like to! I love the idea.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

There is quite the debate raging about Santa on blogs right now, isn't there. I don't get too worked up about it, but then again, we have ALWAYS opened all of our gifts at midnight Christmas Eve. It's really fun. Then the next day, Christmas Day is quieter, peaceful, not about gifts at all, but about being with family and being thankful for what the Savior has done. It is not a rejection of Santa, it's just how our family has always done it. So I guess that is why I am always puzzled why people get so upset about Santa....we never have done Santa on Christmas day, so that day has always been set apart! :) Merry Christmas to you,Emily!

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily said...

Hmm. I guess I actually do have some other options to consider... It's just hard to break tradition! And we don't even really "do" Santa (we just receive the gifts from whomever they're really from) and that's excitement and distraction enough.

Emily said...

Ah! Another good idea! My friend, Rebecca, just posted on fb that today is St. Nicholas Day, which I'd forgotten. we could open all our presents today and then focus on the Savior the rest of the month. There are also some similar Swedish traditions with Sta. Lucia day that we could follow, especially since we have some Swedish ancestry -- but, if the kids got all their presents now, I think they would be just a little disappointed on Christmas, do you think?

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Some years because of my Mexican and Spanish heritage we don't receive our gifts until Jan. 6 - Three King's Day. There are HUGE parades in Spain and some smaller ones in the South American countries celebrating the arrival of the Wise Men to the Christ child.

notmolly said...

It's okay to morph traditions over time, too. We never did "do" Santa, and last year, we skipped doing a tree (decorated greenery all over the house instead, because we really don't have floor space for a tree!)

I don't have anything against Santa, I'm just not particularly keen on him for our household, so we don't bother. We have a cool collection of angels, and I'd like to do some neat "Names of Christ" ornaments, etc. Our Nativity has the front-and-center spot for the living room, and I do like that.

Michelle said...

Emily, I'm just now catching up on your blog.

I'm sort of in the mode of trying to morph our traditions. Sort of. Part of my issue is that I've always used Christmas as a time to help kiddos catch up on their needs...so I have wrapped lots of socks, clothes, etc. over the years. It's made for fun Christmases for them and focused 'catch-up-on-needs' time for me (I hate hate hate shopping, so I like having a reason to do it, and to do it all at once-ish).

But it's hard for that not to translate into a gimme mentality.

I dunno. I think all in balance.

But maybe we don't really need to 'justify' it?

I am conflicted on this one...more so this year than ever before. Maybe because my kids are getting older....