GIVE MORE (David Wigg)
As long as I can remember, Christmas Eve has been a night of custom and tradition centered around family. As a child, our family gathered by the fireplace to eat, hang stockings and open one gift. As a teen, the Christmas Eve service became a special part of the evening before we returned home to the fire. Later, my parents started hosting a pre-service dinner where family and close friends would gather to begin celebrating together. There have always been changes, but the heart of it was always family.
Nine years ago, my wife, Melanie, started to coordinate the Christmas Eve service, a big job which starts early in the fall and ends when she collapses in a puddle after the service. This changed our Christmas Eve and “family” had to share with “serving”. When we started to offer multiple Christmas Eve services, it got worse. I’d take the kids home myself and they would often be in bed before Melanie got home. I was still spending Christmas Eve with my parents and children and siblings, but without Melanie it wasn’t right.
I realized that I was starting to resent the “serving” because it was getting in the way of “family” and that I needed to make some changes. Christmas wasn’t about focusing on ourselves, but about giving to others. It was hard, but I had to let go of my perfect family-centered Christmas Eve and think of the night as a time when I was supporting Melanie and the church as we gave our community a wonderful Christmas gift. I was able to release her to serve and to support her. The result is that I get real joy out of our common effort and I still have a great family tradition for our kids to enjoy.
I love my family traditions, but I’ve realized that I can put them on a pedestal. After taking this one step, I am looking for other ways to combine family and service at Christmas.
Challenge (by Devon Wagler)
What is Christmas really about? Is it a story about how Jesus was born? Is it about peace and love? Or, is Christmas really about the most humbling act which has ever been done? God becoming man.
How can we humble ourselves this Christmas? When you’re with your family, your children, or your fellow Christians. How can you learn to make your attitude ‘the same as that of Christ Jesus?’
“Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”