Here we are again: the December issue of the paper, working our way through Advent and towards Christmas Day. Every year is so full of anticipation, and for that I am deeply grateful. It means we have come through another year, we get to celebrate another season; no matter the trials and tribulations, here we are.
I asked my kids recently what their favourite part of Christmas was, other than presents. Individually, and independent of each other, they both said, “But mom, presents aren’t my favourite part!” Well, colour me embarrassed. Apparently I don’t give those boys enough credit.
Their answers impressed me. Mr. 11 said he likes the food—turkey, Christmas pudding—and hanging out with his family. He really is my mini me.
Mr. 9 said his favourite part is that it’s Jesus’s birthday, and he likes to celebrate that. Now, part of me wants to melt over that statement, but part of me is also highly suspicious that he is just telling me what he thinks will get the most “brownie points.”
When asked, their dad says his favourite is Terry’s chocolate orange, which made us all laugh, because Daddy sure does love those. But more seriously, he said he loves carolling with the church choir.
For my part, I love it all, but if I had to pick my absolute favourite things about the holiday season it’s the music and the cheesy Hallmark movies. The whole season is just one big reason to be happy and generous and to spend time with all the people you love most. Sign me up!
I do sometimes wonder if any of these things matter. If we had the opportunity to ask Jesus what his favourite part is, what would the answer be? Would he pull up a chair for turkey? Would he want to watch those feel good movies? Would the carols bring a smile to his face?
Or would he tell us we have entirely missed the point? Would he be embarrassed of how we mark the holiday? Overindulgence in the highest order—not what he had in mind for a birthday party, maybe?
For our part, we do also try to share the love of the season, and give to charity, and shop locally, and support the different ministries of the church, ensuring as many people as possible can celebrate the season—at least a little bit.
Is there a right way to do Advent and Christmas? I am inclined to think not. As long as we live the example Jesus set for us it shouldn’t matter. Feed the hungry; clothe the naked; visit the lonely; it’s pretty simple.
We should do these things all year long, certainly, but I think it is also okay to put more emphasis on it during Christmas. We are leading into a long, cold, dark season of winter. The more cheer we can build up the better to get us through until the snow melts and the flowers come back.
What is your favourite part of the holiday season?