Tuesday, 17 November 2015

This Christmas: Avoiding the Magic, Celebrating the Miracle.

  This year I found myself preparing for the jolly Christmas season quite early. Our home won't be occupied for allot of December, so the after our time of remembering our soldiers on our Canadian Remembrance Day, up went the green garland, sparkling lights and festive ribbons.

  Growing up in a Christian home, the number-one meaning of Christmas was, of course, remembering the birth of Jesus - the Christ; the Son of God. Along with our Christmas tree and stockings hung on the television box, we set up our nativity scene, read the Christmas story in the different gospels, wrote encouraging Christmas cards and prepared specials for the candle-light service at our church. There was no question that Jesus was the reason for the season...but it was still fun and acceptable to have a few gifts under the tree from Santa that we knew Mom had wrapped up for us.

  Now, with a family of my own, we have cheerfully decorated the house. A quiet morning with my two-year-old son found us excited to have in our possession a set of DVD's with The Origional Christmas Classics! Examining the cover, I was pumped to be familiar with the pictures on it. We may have only had three channels on our TV set growing up (one being french) but come December, these TV classics aired and had me curled up on the couch for some fun winter tales. My son chose the "Santa one" first. The DVD menu option was selected and off to the couch we went to enjoy the stop-motion animation. 

  I was surprised to be re-introduced to the "Winter Warlock"...for some reason I didn't remember him. In fact, in the movie he is repeatedly called "Mr. Warlock" and he keeps correcting them to please refer to him as "just Winter". A bit disturbed by the creepy intro and the new realization that this character is essentially a male witch, I still told myself that these were acceptable when I was a kid and I'm giving my child more of an education on the classics than anything else. If there was any sign of fear or confusion, I'd do some toddler-version explaining. Next up, and plugged in this very morning was Frosty the Snowman. Again with the magic! Was I so dumb to expect anything different? Again my child finished the story and I'm sitting here realizing that today's movie was all about teaching him that magic is real, magic is fun, wouldn't it be neat if magic happened to you. 
Magic IS real, but not something to dabble in.

“Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God." - Leviticus 19:31

Behind any mask of fun and games in magic or sorcery, is sin.

Now, as I glance at our reindeer cookies, see holiday posts on social media and go through the seasonal aisle at the grocery store, I find myself surrounded by the magic of Christmas and, truth be told....critical. 
I'm not one to want to jump to extremes. I don't want to be the type to ban the name of Santa in our house because of his story's current popular reputation, just as I don't intend to pretend that the Christmas tree represents some sort of cross Christ died on. 
I'm simply motivated to try and take emphasis off of the famously acclaimed magical holiday season, and focus on Christ-mas - celebrating how Christ came and what He has done for us.

Some of the things our home (and other homes too, I hope!) will experience this year:

Bible reading - We have a the Jesus Storybook Bible that tells the story of Christ in a wonderful way for children to hear and understand. There is also reading you can do all through December! Find it on Pinterest here.

Nativity Scene - Set them up, draw them, learn about them! My sister had the great idea to make sure to have a non-breakable one for the children to play with. They can set it up and re-enact the birth of Christ. I found a cute wooden one here.

Candy Canes - According to Wikipedia, it was a german candy maker who came up with a staff-shaped candy stick to give to children in church services.

St. Nicholas - The magical legand didn't actually start out with mystics. Our home was happy to learn a little history and read about it's origin here. (from biography.com)

Neighbourly Giving - Reindeer or not, our neighbours received our plate of cookies along with our family Christmas card. Every year we choose a verse to be on the card - this year was Isaiah 9:6.

I would love to hear how other believers remember Christ in the season of sparkles and hocus focus!

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