Christmas Illuminates Our Joy and Pain

Print Friendly

The emotions you feel this Christmas will illuminate the joys and/or pains you’ve experienced during this past year.  Your highs will soar higher, and your lows will reach lower.  That’s why Christmas is the best time of year for some, and the worst time of year for others.

This year is going to be a wonderful Christmas for our family.  I have a 5, 3, and 1 year old.  I love watching their eyes share in their experiences of Christmas.

We have a family tradition of watching a movie together on Friday nights.  Over the last three Fridays, we’ve watched Christmas movies.  Every few minutes, I glance away from the TV screen (that’s saying a lot for a guy who has ADD and never glances away from any TV screen – just ask my wife), and I sit mesmerized as I watch the glee in the my three year old son’s eyes.  When we watch a movie, he is there – either sitting on Santa’s lap, or standing in awe in front of a big Christmas tree.  Whatever it is, his eyes tell me he’s experiencing it just like he were there.

I love watching my kids during these special moments.  With young children in the house, Christmas brings so much joy.

But, not everyone experiences joy at Christmas.

This might be your first Christmas without a spouse, a parent, or a child.  For others, it may be he first Christmas after a divorce or job loss.  This may be the first Christmas you don’t get to be at home with your family.

Right now, I feel compelled to write and tell people who will be grieving this holiday that you are loved.  I know you don’t have all the answers, and unfortunately, I can’t say anything that will help your situation make any more sense.  I can simply say that you are loved.

If you’re reading this blog post right now, would you be willing to do me a favor?

  • When you’re out buying your Christmas presents this year, could you you stop and ask yourself who might not be getting a present?  Then buy one for him or her.
  • When you’re sending your Christmas cards, would you be willing to think of one person who really needs the encouragement?  Then stop and add a personal note.
  • When you’re putting together your invitation list for a Christmas party, could you think of one person who is likely not going to get invited to a party?  Then invite that person.

In our family, we’re trying to teach our children to do unto others as we would have things done unto us.  The first step in doing something for others is challenging ourselves to step beyond our own selfish wants and needs.  To think, at least for a moment, about what someone else wants or needs.  I’m having trouble doing that for myself, so you can imagine how hard it is to teach kids to think about others.

Here are a few things we do during the holidays:

  • Make sure Christmas involves at least one act of service.  Each Christmas we join the church and go caroling at the hospital and hand out Christmas gifts to the patients.
  • For every new toy our kids get, they pick one to give away.

But now I need your help and your suggestions.

What are things you do to reach out to those who might get forgotten during this holiday season?  How do you teach your kids to think of others during the holiday season?

Comments

  1. Connie says

    Craig,
    “We have a family tradition of watching a movie together on Friday nights. Over the last three Fridays, we’ve watched Christmas movies. Every few minutes, I glance away from the TV screen (that’s saying a lot for a guy who has ADD and never glances away from any TV screen – just ask my wife), and I sit mesmerized as I watch the glee in the my three year old son’s eyes. When we watch a movie, he is there – either sitting on Santa’s lap, or standing in awe in front of a big Christmas tree. Whatever it is, his eyes tell me he’s experiencing it just like he were there.”

    I think it’s great that you’re watching your children’s joy at Christmas and are aware that this season heightens the intensity of emotions for folks–it truly does. I don’t know your philosophy of raising your children so maybe I’m going to challenge you to do something you and your wife do. I would challenge you to be aware of your children’s media usage. #1.Try to let them experience in reality as much as they can that is age-appropriate for them (ie. going to the zoo is better than reading a book about animals, learning to play an instrument is better than allowing them to spend hours on garage band on the computer). #2. The older they get the more tempted they will be by society to watch things that are inappropriate for them so help them set up criteria questions for how they’ll choose what they’ll watch. #3. Even now talk with them about the things you watch together. Questions are wonderful tools used appropriately. We’ve found the following book to be very helpful :
    http://www.cpyu.org/Page.aspx?id=76798

    I’ve found your financial writing to be very thought provoking and encourage you to use that sense of discernment with pop culture and your children too :)

    Merry CHRISTmas!!!
    Connie

    • says

      Connie,
      Thanks for you comment.
      I completely agree that parents need to be aware of their kids’ media intake. One of the things we like about living in PNG is that we don’t have the negative media influence. In our own home we don’t get any media channels. Thus, we have a TV, but we don’t have TV (if you know what I mean). The only things our kids watch are DVD’s we pre-approve. Like I said in the post we watch a movie on Friday nights. Perhaps I should have pointed out that is the one movie our kids watch every week.
      Unfortunately, we can’t really take all of the advice because there is no zoo where we live and there is nowhere to buy instruments. But, I get your point. Instead I take my kids into the shanty towns and take them with me to do Bible studies with people. I think that probably has the same positive impact on their lives.

    • says

      I guess I’ll chime in here, too. We feel so blessed to be separated from all of the media and such since we’re living in PNG. My kids get all kinds of experiences: discovering ocean life, making gardens, baking, washing dishes by hand, hanging clothes on the line, traveling internationally … the list goes on. We do enjoy our weekly movie night though. The availability of media in the States makes me nervous, however. We’re just enjoying the simplicity of what we have here now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *