Sunday, December 18, 2011

Radical Christmas

I haven't written in a long time. I haven't had those compelling urges where I need to get an idea down in writing. I am not sure why. Maybe my creative energies have been being used else where, maybe I haven't had a thought in my head, maybe it is hormones. Who knows.

The greatest indicator of this is that I did not send out Christmas Cards this year. I know some people dread this tradition, but it is one of my favorites. I always take time to write little notes and to those I only communicate with once a year, a letter. I couldn't do it. Again, not sure why.

It is certainly not that I don't want to hear from anyone else. I love getting cards and seeing pictures and hearing what everyone has been doing. I just felt I wouldn't enjoy the process this year and that it might be reflected in what I sent out. So if you are one of those on my list, please forgive. I do think of you and cherish our friendships. I just couldn't get it in writing this year.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about Christmas Time and how to bring back its true joy and meaning to my children. I have tried in years past to institute traditions and limit materialism, but it has never really worked. They can not see the forest through the trees.

The excitement of Christmas Eve has long been a source of spirituality for me. I remember those years from childhood and that feeling that one never feels again in quite the same way. For me it has become the feeling I am trying to recreate for heaven. I know that I should anticipate heaven in the same way a child anticipates Christmas Morn, and while I have not yet gotten there, I will recognize the feeling when it comes again.

I fear my children do not even know the feeling. Part of the anticipation was the magic: The lights and the tree, the music floating softly on the air, the programs that came on once a year and left you feeling so warm inside. Sure there were gifts to be opened, but they were part of a bigger package that was Christmas. I always got up hours before everyone else. We could not open gifts until everyone was awake. I would sit in the dark in my dad's big brown leather chair where I could smell the tree and stare into its twinkling lights. It was an hour of such peace after the excitement of the night before. I remember this more than the chaos of opening presents that came when everyone else was up and moving. I fear the stuff is all my children are thinking about and they will remember nothing.

I have long noticed that these moments of quiet contemplation are missing in our lives. The children are so busy. Before we were in school, we had more time to sit quietly in our prayer space or in our rooms alone. Now we get it about once a week and only for about 20 minutes.

When we make time, it never ceases to amaze me how refreshed and at peace the children are. Because we do it less, it takes longer to calm down and to get quiet. But they emerge with a feeling of joy that they do not get from sports, play dates, toys or TV. When I remove all the distractions from their environment and let them contemplate the love of God, they are nourished.

My goal for this year was to remove the distractions and allow as much of The Christmas Season as possible to nourish them and speak to them about the love of God. I will post some of the things I have done in the days to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment