My Merry Manifesto

It’s exhausting when you live in contradiction to your core values. No wonder so many people need therapy this time of year.  We say we want world peace, but duke it out at Walmart. We say we want to support our local economy, but buy the cheapest electronics we can find from China at Target. We say we want to teach our children to learn contentment and gratitude, but we fall all over ourselves to buy them a temporary state of bliss on Christmas morning. Our hearts are crying, “simplify!” and maybe this is the year we will listen.

What are your core values, and how do they relate to the Christmas season? I’ve been asking myself this question lately. I am, by nature, hopelessly romantic. It is so easy for me to fall into the trap of trying to create the perfect “holiday moment” as depicted by Currier and Ives, the windows at Macy’s, Norman Rockwell, or Pottery Barn. But the reality is, that’s not reality. Even if you manage to stage a photo on Christmas Eve with your well-dressed family and your well-appointed table, and your well-placed environmentally friendly LED lights strung on your organic, biodegradable garland, your heart will tell you that the picture does not really capture the truth of the moment, and that it’s really only a bragging piece for your Facebook wall. This go-round I want more than that. Don’t you? So I’m starting by asking myself what is important. What would Christmas look like if it were an authentic expression of what I value most about this season and what it represents?

For me, the essence of Christmas is captured best in the words of the Apostle John;

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

The same Word that created the heavens (Psalm 33:6), spoke light into darkness, (Genesis 1:3),  heals and delivers (Psalm 107:20), and executes the will of God (Psalm 147:15-18), was draped in humanness and condescended to us so that we may know God personally. That’s huge – and amazing!

As the Christmas Season hits its stride, there is one thing and one thing only that is driving my holiday planning and decision-making, and that is how do I appropriately respond to the truth of John 1:14 within the context of my own personal holiday celebration, and how do I express it to my family and friends? This is the conversation I will be having here over the next few weeks if you care to follow along.

Next week: Gift Giving as a Reflection of God’s Grace

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6 thoughts on “My Merry Manifesto

  1. I so agree, Vicky….and find myself in the conflict as well. I love giving gifts to my children, and yet I want to make our ‘holiday’ more than just the time of year to make out like a bandit.

    We’ve done a few things differently….Steve’s family decided not to buy gifts for any of the adults, and we pool the money we would have spent and adopt a family that can’t afford gifts. This year it is a single mom with six children 6 and under. We found her through the ministry of some friends…they have 65 families they are adopting out.

    We also did something crazy…we’re going to a cabin with Steve’s folks from the 18th to the 22nd! That means, we need to have all the “stuff” of Christmas done before then….which means that week before Christmas will be relaxing and we’ll able to focus where we want. I’m excited about this!

    Still….I don’t do it as well as I’d like. I’m eager to be more disciplined in how we approach this season, especially with little ones.

    BTW….do you do something for Advent? Do you have a book of readings or anything you use during the month? I’m looking for something to use…(yes, I’m late!)

    1. Sarah, I love the idea of pooling your money and adopting a family! I’m curious if you could share with us how you broached the subject and how that decision was made. Did someone have to step up and take the lead and sort of “pitch” the deal, or was it more of a collective organic sort of family movement?

  2. I think it was actually originally Steve’s dad’s idea. We all agreed that we have enough “stuff” and I don’t think anyone was opposed to the idea. Steve’s dad has asked a different person to take it on each year. Last year he set it up and found the family, this year Steve is in charge. I like the idea that it rotates.

    Last year three of the oldest grandkids went with Steve’s dad and I think one of the brothers to deliver the things. That is also a big part of it. The ministry we are working through suggests calling and talking with the family, taking them out to dinner or taking them shopping. We’ll take the boys with us when we go to deliver things.

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