Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Slowing down, Christmas gifts and giving back


Every Christmas season I come to this point where I start planning my gifts and parties and decorations where I just stop hold up for a moment and ask myself where I want to go with it all meaning "am I going to allow the season and its business or the commercialization of the season to take over? Or am I going to put things in place and give gifts in such a way that it is meaningful, reflective and points to Jesus?"
Because it is quite easy to fall into it all. I don't think that giving gifts is wrong. I just think by having another attitude and by having moments which slow me down I counter the culture of commercialization. I know this is personal and I am not changing a whole culture with it, but I don't mean to. I am changing my culture and the way I perceive the season.


This year slowing down the season meant taking two afternoons to be creative. My neighbors came up and we made wreaths together, drank tea and talked about creativity and Christmas and the other time they came up and we baked Christmas cookies together. We had community together, we talked, we lit candles we celebrated Advent and nothing slows you down like having to wait for baked goods to come out of the oven. Later that afternoon we met the rest of the neighbors out on the street and made a fire. We sat there together as the it flickered and talked about food and life. We talked about Jesus and the beautiful gift he gave us. Because that is what it is all about and everything we do should always point to him!
This year the verse I chose for my Christmas cards was all about being light and shining and being generous with our lives. I still feel so very blessed about where I live and the apartment I have and I don't take it for granted. On the other hand I want to give it back to God by being generous with my life and keeping open house. That is why my flatmate and I have people over all the time. We host parties and gatherings and Connect groups and movie nights. That for me is giving back from what I have been given.
So it was a given that Melina and I hosted our annual Open House Adventsparty. And again it was so cozy and fun and loud and felt like Christmas was in the house. There is nothing like community and being together with friends.

But now for the presents. I think giving presents on Christmas is another way to show and give back what Jesus has given us. His ultimate gift of forgiveness and reconciliation with the father.
So yes I do buy gifts but I try to make them meaningful or they are gifts of time or gifts of dates. And I also make a lot of gifts like the banana breads I make every year for my friends. This year I also made bath salts and granola for stocking stuffers.

At the end of the day it is all about your attitude. Be reflective of this Holiday, take time apart to meditate on this time and be a blessing for others.



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