So it is the end of October and where has this year gone? For some time now the retail world has been preparing for the season ahead and Christmas displays are popping up everywhere.
This has caused excitement for those who love anything and all things Christmas, all the way to complete outrage and even protests against the retail stores early Christmas displays and advertising.
For someone like myself who has visited both ends of this spectrum I now enjoy the excitement that indicates Christmas is on its way. Far from the stress and agony that once came with worrying about having enough money to pay for Christmas, having enough time, the right presents, and whatever else needed to be done or bought.
So being somewhat discouraged with the Christmas hoopla we decided we needed to make Christmas more about the things that make it special. So as a family we have started celebrating our own version of advent throughout December, we have a wreath with candles and home-made advent calendars that not only contain treats for the kids but activities and challenges as well. We write Christmas Cards together, sing Christmas Carols, make gifts for others, light candles, read bible verses, and even act out the Christmas story as a family. As we have done this we have created family memories and traditions and found ourselves discussing the true meaning of Christmas.
We find that not everything goes to plan, you can never plan for tired, grumpy children (or parents for that matter) but we plan anyway, and early. It does help and by focusing on Jesus and the hope, love, joy and peace that Christmas represents these things have replaced what once was Christmas stress. The Christmas presents are a bonus.
(Wairoa Rock Church)
Published in The Gisborne Herald 31 October 2015