Do You Ever Get Tired of Christmas?
by Mary Manz Simon
“Do you ever get tired of Christmas?”
I was startled to hear that question from my daughter, Christy. Not waiting for an answer, she continued, “You’ve had so many Christmases. Do they start to get old?”
Grasping a green garland in one hand and red bow in the other, I paused. A flood of memories filled my head as I mentally searched for a response.
I remembered the year I learned Christmas cookies don’t need to begin with sugar, flour and sprinkles all over the kitchen. My discovery: cookies can be a made from a box. The next year our Christmas cookies were sliced from a roll. Even in years when we bought cookies (gasp!), we still celebrated Jesus’ birthday.
And then there was the year I learned Christmas meals don’t need to be fancy. I was in bed with pneumonia. After the deluge of holiday worship services, my pastor-husband drove frantically around town on Christmas Day, looking for any place to buy food. There wasn’t a single store or restaurant open, so Christmas dinner was waffles from the freezer. Yet our three preschoolers still celebrated Jesus’ birthday.
Do I ever get tired of Christmas?
Christy’s question echoed through the memories of holidays past until the answer emerged: No, I don’t ever get tired of Christmas. However, I do tire of the Christmas “stuff.”
I can be so busy going everywhere, I might miss Advent, a time to prepare my heart for the coming of the Savior.
During the holidays, I juggle so many activities, I might miss kneeling at the manger.
I can get so tangled in the trappings, I almost forget the miracle of Jesus’ birth.
The calendar says it’s December.
The clock says time is flying.
But we don’t need to race the Christmas clock when our own family traditions re-focus attention on the real meaning of the holiday. Now as a grandmother of five, I cherish the traditions we’ve passed on to the next generations. May I share them?
Creche figures move through the house. From windowsill to windowsill, every day the children moved the figures closer to the waiting stable. By Christmas Eve, only the Magi are still making the march to the manger. This helps the entire family focus the Christmas countdown on the coming of Jesus. This tradition is featured in my board book, March to the Manger.
Straw overflows in the empty manger. In the days before Christmas, children added a piece of straw for every random act of kindness. By the time Baby Jesus was laid in the manger on Christmas Eve, the stable overflowed (and guests could catch a barnyard whiff in the living room!) I love traditions that don’t preach, but remind us that because God gave His gift of love, we can show love to others.
Re-tell the Christmas story. This is actually featured in my new holiday release, My Christmas Story Tree. In this glittery board book, a little boy tells the Christmas story as he hangs ornaments on the tree. Children of all ages can do that. Or, if you want to help a child grow a collection of faith memories, ask him to draw a picture of the first Christmas. A variation is to tape a child reading Luke 2 each December. And avoid my mistake of thinking, “I’ll remember the year.” Date everything that can be repeated annually.
Decorating “theme trees.” Purchase a small, inexpensive artificial tree for a child’s bedroom. Encourage the child to choose a single aspect of the Christmas story: angels, music, stars, etc. then decorate the tree using only ornaments reflecting that theme. This offers the opportunity to view the familiar Christmas message from a variety of new angles. I remember one year when our son had drums—for “The Little Drummer Boy”—covering his tree. Now as the father of two boys, Matthew still likes that song.
Do you ever get tired of Christmas?
If so, find a person who is trapped in the “stuff” of Christmas: a list of gifts left to buy, presents to wrap, places to go, but an empty heart. Then share the timeless story that begins “And it came to pass in those days….” Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a person who is just beginning a relationship with Jesus Christ as His Savior offers a fresh perspective on the holiday. Sharing the joy and hope of the first Christmas guarantees we will never get tired of Christmas.
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