Thought for the week
'Tis the season to be jolly fa-la-la-la-la la-la-la-la'.
It's such a weird time of year. For some reason, the Christmas season causes us to go back to old traditions. Meeting up with family. Eating an awesome Christmas meal. Santa sacks. Christmas tree and decorations. Gift-giving and receiving. Christmas cake (because nobody likes it during the rest of the year). Receiving boxes and boxes of chocolate. And of course, the songs. Mariah Carey, Michael Bublѐ, Snoopy's Christmas, the old Christmas Carols and this year's glut of old-school Christmas carols redone to sound more modern.
These Christmas traditions are important. Traditions are symbols which show what is important to us and what has lasting value. Generally, Western 21st Century culture dislikes traditions. We like moving forward unhindered by the past into whatever it is that is new and great. But traditions carry with them memories, and they remind us about what kind of people we want to be.
When Jess and I had our first Christmas after Elias was born, we intentionally wondered about the kind of Christmas traditions we wanted to have for our whānau. And one of those traditions is that we wanted to have a manger which we put the presents around (even if it was under the Christmas tree) to symbolise that Jesus is both the great gift giver and the greatest gift of all.
What are your Christmas traditions? What do they say about your values? What stories and memories do they communicate and remind you and the rest of your whānau? Our traditions are important because they carry with them memories, and they remind us of the kind of people we want to be.
God bless you as you go through the Christmas season, and may you be reminded of all that God has done for us at that very first Christmas, all those years ago, in a small town called Bethlehem.
Weekly Prayer Points
Pray for the family service this Sunday that we will be inspired as we hear the Christmas story again. Give thanks to God for our tamariki and that they have a part to play in teaching us about Jesus and leading us deeper into relationship with our God.
Pray for the Carols on the Truck that it will be a wonderful time of community and a real blessing to the elderly folks who we visit.
Pray for those with whom Christmas will be difficult this year with family stuck overseas due to Covid or it is the first Christmas without a loved one who passed away this year. Pray that God would comfort them and be with them through this difficult time.
Pray that God's peace, joy, hope and love will be upon us and all we love. And safe travels for those who are going away for Christmas or this holiday period.