An Untraditional Christmas

My husband and sons have been sending around humorous texts about decorating for Christmas. Let’s just say that I enjoyed transforming our home into a very festive place more than they did. The fact they had to haul all of those boxes out of the attic and help wasn’t their favorite day of the season. I tried to make it more fun with hot chocolate and cookies, but their “bah-humbug” spirits remained. The Sunday sermon after Christmas decorating usually included a few jokes about an aching back, etc.

But not this year. Let’s just say decorating our home this year for Christmas wasn’t a Hallmark Christmas movie event.

2019: An Untraditional Season

It’s taken me several years to arrive at this spot, but I think I’ve made it! The kids are both married with homes of their own to decorate. We had everyone for Thanksgiving, so our Christmas will be pretty quiet. As a result, Jim and I decided to enjoy an untraditional Christmas season. We bought a small tree from Hobby Lobby and set it on a little table. We pulled a few more things out of the attic and called it done. It took about an hour to have our home ready for the season. We are in an “every other Christmas” mode and it’s kind of fun! Untraditional will become a new tradition for my home – but Jim, be warned – only every other year.

An Un-Hallmark Christmas

If you have read my blog for a while you know that I am a fan of the Hallmark channel, especially during the Christmas season. Apparently, a LOT of people are. It is the number one watched channel in December. The network has a website store where you can purchase Christmas socks that say, “Shhh, I’m watching a Hallmark Christmas movie” or a coffee mug that says, “Tis the season to watch Hallmark Christmas movies.” There are T-Shirts, pajamas, warm throws, games and an apron. I would like to own all of them, except maybe the apron. (It wouldn’t get much use.)

I’m seriously considering purchasing the kitchen towel, just so that my “guys” might finally understand my love of Christmas. The tea towel reads:  Things I Learned from Hallmark Christmas Movies: 1) Stop and smell the pine trees. 2) Family traditions are everything. 3) Christmas spirit is contagious. 4) Sprinkles are mandatory. 5) Good things come to those who believe.

The Most Untraditional Christmas

The success of the Hallmark Christmas movies should serve as a signal to all of us who understand the genuine “reason for the season.”  People want the traditions and values that are truly the product of a season that is about Christ. Interestingly, most don’t even realize that the traditional Christmas values were inspired from the biblical story of Christmas in Luke, chapter two.

Everything we value about the Christmas holiday is depicted in the original story. God made Mary and Joseph a family and made certain that they could raise and protect their newborn Son. The family faithfully loved each other and God. The skies were ablaze with light when the angels appeared. The shepherds knew that the baby who had been born was special, and God had sent his angels so they would be included in the story. Everyone has a place of importance at Christmas. The innkeeper found the family a spot at his inn, even if the best he had to offer was simply his stable. The Wise Men later brought gifts because they wanted to honor the King.

It is safe to say that the most untraditional Christmas was the first one. There will never be a replica of that day. But the values seen in the biblical story are the values the Christmas season is supposed to produce in our hearts and lives.

Jesus is the Only Tradition to Insist Upon

I think family traditions are wonderful but adaptable. Kids grow up, marry, and need to establish their own family traditions. To insist Christmas has to be the same each year is to insist it has to be done “your way.”

Traditions have great value, but only if they are shared traditions. Families combine at Christmas and occasionally collide. Keep some traditions and make space to enjoy a few new moments as well.

The only tradition that I will insist be kept is that Jesus be the King of the holiday. Christmas is about him. I won’t open the holiday to other faith traditions because Christmas is about Christ. I won’t sing songs to other gods because I know there is just one God. I won’t allow people to suggest I celebrate a holiday when I know Christmas is about a holy day.

The only tradition I will insist on for Christmas is that the celebration be focused on Christ.

My Favorite Decoration

I thought I was done decorating, but I wasn’t. The living room didn’t have its typical large tree, covered with memories of our thirty-nine years of marriage and family. I’m already looking forward to seeing those souvenir ornaments again next year. I did, however, need to get back in the attic and look for that special box where I keep a favorite decoration. 

Several years ago, my friends surprised me with a beautiful Lion and Lamb sculpture that I keep on my living room coffee table at Christmas. At the base it reads, “Peace on Earth.” I remember staring at it in a store window while on a trip with those friends. I loved it from the first moment I saw it because it seemed like God was saying, “This is the why of the holiday season.”

That Lion and Lamb represent the deepest meaning of Christmas to me. The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming Messiah’s birth and what it would mean to the world when he wrote, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6). Christmas is about the peace Christ was born to provide.

Peace on Earth

Jesus is the only tradition Christians should insist on. This year, peace is the theme of our untraditional Christmas. My little tree is just perfect. My quiet holiday plans are, too. Christmas is about Jesus and the peace he brought to earth.

Every other tradition we own will one day cease.  One year, the world will celebrate a final Christmas. Jesus is going to return.  Revelation 5:13 is about the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. That verse says:

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

The worship of Christ is a holiday tradition that will never end. May it be the focus of our holiday season this year and every other. Amen?  And all God’s people say, Amen.