Thursday, December 24, 2009

Keeping Christ in Christmas

Merry Christmas!!! Not X-Mas!
It's been a wierd Christmas for me this year and it's really been hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit. Partly I think because school this semester really was overtaking all of the joy of the season. Because of stuff that I had to do over Thanksgiving, I missed out on most of the decorating for Christmas, and what parts I did help with I was just worrying about what I needed to do before I went back to classes.
Then in my apartment we had a small little tree, which thanks to Elizabeth eventually got some lights, but that was the extent of Christmas until a teacher that was at Jefferson Elementary where I was doing my practicum gave me a wooden snowman, which Liz also furnished with lights. But basically the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas were basically the same as any other days in the semester, just a whole lot colder. And a lot more stressful because of finals, and the fact that this was my last finals and that I really had to prove myself.

So it wasn't until I got home that it started to feel like Christmas, and it still didn't really. There wasn't really any snow and yeah our house was festive, but most of the time I've been home it feels like I've just been planning and trying to get stuff together to go to AZ.

There have been some highlights and I've been trying to get into the Christmas spirit and quite worrying about moving stuff until after Christmas.

Last Sunday we had our family FHE with our extended family and that helped get me in the season a lot, just seeing the joy on my second cousins faces as they anticipate the arrival of Santa, and Grandpa read to us from Luke the Nativity story. And I've been reading a book with some of the histories behind some Christmas songs.

Truely this year, though, I'm realizing the meaning for the season. There hasn't really been anything this year that I was like- "I gotta have this" instead, most of the things I think I'll be getting for Christmas are just things that I need for my new place. So many people out there though are just shopping for "something" to give to someone else. Often I think that gifts have lost the meaning behind them. Gifts are to me, symbolic of the greatest gift, the birth of the Christ child and his gift to us of the atonement. This is the greatest gift we've received and I think that all other gifts should just remind us of Christ.

But I think now, often it's easy to just fall into the habit of giving gifts without any meaning other than a name checked off on a list. I know I've done it. However this year I've really tried to put some thought into my gifts. For Christmas I actually got tickets for our family to go to the Forgotten Carols-which we never had before and it was something nice to do together as a family.
And then both my mom and brother have their birthdays the week of Christmas, Mom's is the 23rd and Wayne's is the 24th. So I tried to actually make gifts for them this year.
I made Mom one of those wooden signs that says "Together, the best place to be" with the help of my Dad cutting out the wood. It's dark blue with a light blue edge around it and the vinyl lettering is beige. And it was total stress relief. I forgot how much I love to paint!

And then Mom and I gave Wayne a quilt that we've been working on, basically since last Christmas and again Dad helped with as well while we were tying it. But the quilt is black and red and the print on the front is of guitars and pianos and drums and trumpets and a ton of musical intruments, which basically describes Wayne's love for musical stuff to make noise with. :D But he absolutely loved it!!!

And then tonight we went on our annual Christmas Eve Christmas Light Tour (aka family tradition of driving around the city looking at lights and listening to music) I realized something. And it was actually brought about because we were listening to the "97 hours of Christmas" on KLCE (... which I think have been well over 97 hrs, since the station's been playing Christmas music since Thanksgiving!) but anyway I noticed something and I want to give kudos to KLASSY 97. Every song I heard playing tonight was a song about Christ. EVERY song!! Which helped to remind me again that Christmas is about Christ's birth not just Christmas trees and Santas and snowmen and reindeer with red noses.
So as we were driving, once I realized that all of the songs were about CHRIST I began to reflect on the words of the songs and they gained more meaning to me. And I was able to think about the meaning of Christ's birth.
I also noticed the decorations more as well, and I realized that there is also more to Christmas lights than just pretty lights and glowing Santas and snowmen and flying reindeer, sleighs, and cars (yes, one roof had a light up car that appeared to be flying off it on Candy Cane Lane, I think it was Kevin Call's house- the owner of Farr's ice cream). I also noticed how many Nativitys and star were out on people's lawns. These really are the most important decorations. And I've made the goal to make sure that the Nativity is the first thing up in my home for Christmas.
And yet again, I'm up way later than I should be, Christmas morning comes early, so I need to get to sleep. Merry Christmas!

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