My tree is out of the box. It's still not decorated, even though it's been there for 5 days now. The kids keep asking about it. "hm, later guys okay?". I'm just not into it. Virge sent me a link to her Pandora Christmas station and we've been listening to that a bit, which I like, and I've been listening to my Over the Rhine Christmas CD, which is good, but.....
What are we supposed to do? Modern traditions reek of commercialism and "Holiday Cheer". Even the Christian Bookstores are all about some money. Who wants a "Christian" plaque for Christmas? What does that mean? How many presents are my kids supposed to open for it to be a "good" Christmas? Because after the fourth or fifth one, a glaze washes over their eyes and they start asking for more. They're only five and seven (and two, but he hasn't cared yet-this year he'll be the one yanking other toys out of other children's hands) and yet I'm tired already of having the greedy conversation with them every year. Don't get me wrong, I've yet to not make a "Christmas Wish List" (thank you Service Merchandise catalogs for that lovely jargon) and I do love to give presents (and get presents, by the way- that greedy glaze has passed over my eyes just about every Christmas that I remember), but I'm just over it. Why DO we buy and buy and buy? I'm an affirmation junky and I love praise and adoration, even from my kids. And Christmas gift-giving is "all fair", i.e. "We've got to give so-and-so something, they always give us something", or "he got eight presents and I've only gotten seven!" Both of these thoughts have caused me to overspend a lot.
Today is the first Sunday in Advent. Today I will teach my four and five year old Sunday School class about the prophecies in the Old Testament. We will light the first candle in the Advent Wreath at church and at home and talk about the prophecies in the Old Testament and why they are important to our faith today. God has and will always keep His covenants with His people. Should there even be a balance between modern commercialized Christmas and Christ?
So here I am, on my soapbox. Guess what? I will buy presents this year. I will send Christmas Cards. I will wrap presents this year (I do love to wrap presents-there are no ends to my need for affirmation). I will decorate the tree, with Burl Ives playing and hot cocoa being sipped on by all (how's that for modern tradition). My confliction lies in the balance or the lack of balance: "Oh yeah, it's the celebration of Christ's birth, by the way."