I think I may have blogged about this last year, but I'm going to do it again because I enjoy the subject. I'm not especially a fan of Christmas. Santa, trees, gifts, lights, and way too much junk food; it just doesn't do anything for me. Oh, and the holiday was supposed to be about Jesus and doing good for one another.
Actually I'll be honest, this is the first year since I was a young child that I've really been looking forward to Christmas. The reason that I'm excited for Christmas this year is the traditions that we've started as a family. Today we spent time making ornaments to take to the local nursing home Christmas morning so that we can spend some time with those who often struggle through the holiday season. We also left our Thanksgiving tree up longer this year so that we can keep in mind those things that we are thankful for, and make leaves for them and tape them to the tree. When we take down that tree, I'll make a list of things that made it on the tree.
So the real reason that I'm excited about Christmas this year is that I don't care if there are any presents under the tree. In years past I have either worried about what I might get or that I might have gotten something else something that they don't like or whatever. This year I purchased very few gifts. Two to be precise. I bought the Mugwump wood and hardware so that we can build a bird house together and I bought my wife a couple of things that she wanted (I won't write it here because she can read). We didn't buy Sixpence anything because he's got plenty and he won't notice the difference. We didn't get our parents or grandparents anything because it would put us in a difficult situation financially and the only ideas that we had for gifts were just clutter. We would have purchased stuff that they didn't really need, they might have used, but most likely would have ended up as trash in the near future. We are trying hard to stand up against that, so we didn't buy anything for a lot of people. That is hard, because when I was growing up gifts were a way of showing love. We most certainly love our family, but we are trying to disconnect the idea of gifts and love. If suddenly tomorrow there were not a single gift under the tree, it would in no way influence my family's ability to celebrate Christmas. We're glad they are there and we appreciate others' generosity, but we would still have the spirit of Christmas without them.
Oh, I was going to write about my favorite holiday. OK, I don't know that it is really a holiday, but I really like the Winter Solstice. I think there is a reason that Christmas is on December 25, just after the Winter Solstice every year. I think that the real reason for Christmas is a celebration of light. Now in the Northern hemisphere the days are pretty short, but night is getting long! Jesus was the light of the world, he brought to this world light and hope for things to come, even for those of us in the darkest of despair. The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year and a changing of trends. Starting now, every day will be a little longer, allowing plants a new opportunity for life that will feed animals and allow them to prepare to produce new life. Whether a religious holiday or simply from a perspective of the seasonal changes, this is a wonderful time for hope and renewal.
As the earth brings forth new opportunities I look forward to opportunities to make changes in my life. This year I'm going to make some changes in the garden to try and grow several new foods. I hope to use planter boxes to extend my growing season. I hope to plant some of the cold tolerant plants from early spring all the way to late fall to see how long we can have fresh vegetables available to us. I want to take advantage of the light given to me. Of course there are also opportunities for personal and spiritual growth that I will be making so that I can better know Jesus and help His children have joy and light in their life.
Merry Christmas to all (Boy, that's cliche')