Christmas Card Quandary - 12/11/13

     Let's face it, most of us gripe about the commercialization of Christmas year after year.   75% off, but only at 5am.  Shopping on Thanksgiving.  One more gift under the tree, even though everything's already crossed off  the list.  "Holiday" trees on the town square.  Blow-up ice-skating penguins on the lawn.  We gripe, yet we're the very ones who get drunk on the sales and circulars.  Myself included.
     I really wish we could go back to the way it used to be when times were much simpler.  Kids had a stocking... a real sock.  It was filled with fruit, nuts and maybe a trinket or two.  There was no TV,  Iphone, Ipad, Droid, laptop, tablet, billboard or any other screen flashing bargain basement ads at us 24/7.   People actually turned their attention solely to their families and the Son of God.   To stay focused on those two things now during the Christmas season takes uncanny focus and deliberate decision-making. 
      Take our Christmas card this year for example.  You'll see it below.  (Sorry, it's sideways, I can't get the pictures to rotate.)   Anyway, I got on a website and uploaded some fun photos.  It was really cold that day, I think around 28 degrees.  I was in the mood for warmth and used all warm weather pics.  Then I typed the text,
"Warm Christmas Wishes From (our family)"    I love the card, but when it came, my husband was a little disappointed.  In big bold print on the part of the card that was already pre-designed, it says Happy Holidays.  Don't get me wrong.  For some, that message is fitting and I respect that.  For our family, Merry Christmas is our mantra.  I had gotten so caught up in choosing the best pictures and making it flow with the colors of the card, that I chose a card that doesn't really reflect the reason for the season.  Granted, I did include text that said Warm Christmas Wishes...  and am now busy writing Merry Christmas on the backs of all the cards too to right this personal wrong.  It's worked out okay as this is giving me an opportunity to write personal messages on the backs.  However, the point is... I got caught up in the card and the colors and forgot for a split second about the Christ. 
      One thing we started about three years ago to help our family stay focused is a bucket countdown.  It hangs on the mantle in the office and each day the kids dig in the little bucket and pull out something that relates to the real reason for the season.  Sometimes, it's a craft... other times, it's a scavenger hunt... all of it built around Jesus' birth. 
       Then, there are the poignant remarks from our kids which serve to keep us focused.  My daughter said not too long ago, "Mom, why do they put decorations out for the holiday two holidays before the holiday?"   This gave me a good opportunity to have an open dialogue about the commercialization of Christmas in elementary kid terms.  I love that she noticed that and that it bugged her.  
         One time in class, my son told his teacher that we always bake a cake for Jesus' birthday and sing Happy Birthday.  He went on to explain, "... but he didn't show up, so we just ate it." 
          Merry Christmas everybody.   I'm glad God sent a human form of himself to help us Christians better understand and relate to what we should be striving for.  I'm also glad I live in a free country where if you don't celebrate Christmas, that's okay for you.  I respect your beliefs and thoughts and I thank you for respecting mine.

 

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Last Update on November 21, 2014 10:07 GMT

WEIRD WEATHER

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- With much of the nation digging out from snowstorms -- you might figure Anchorage, Alaska, must be buried. But folks in Alaska's biggest city are asking where's the snow? As a large swath of the Lower 48 shivers, Anchorage is unseasonably warm. The little snow that has fallen has already melted. Not so in western New York, where Buffalo is being buried. There's so much snow on the ground, the NFL has decided to move the Bills' home game against the Jets. The game had been scheduled for Sunday in the Buffalo area, but will be played Monday night in Detroit. The Lions are at New England Sunday.

UNCLAIMED LOTTERY PRIZE

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A lucky $1 million Powerball winner could soon turn very unlucky. Virginia Lottery officials say the clock is ticking on a winning ticket sold for the June 21 drawing. The ticket hasn't been turned in yet. It will expire at the close of business on Dec. 18 if the jackpot isn't claimed. Virginia Lottery officials note winning tickets are only good for 180 days after the drawing.

CENTENARIAN-FIRST OCEAN VISIT

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) -- Ruby Holt has seen a lot in her more than 100 years. But one thing she never saw was the ocean -- at least not until this month. Holt got a chance to go to the beach, visiting the Gulf coast in Alabama. The trip was made possible by Brookdale Senior Living Solutions, where Holt lives in Columbia, Tennessee, and the Wish of a Lifetime organization. Holt says she had always heard about how wonderful the ocean is and wanted to see for herself. She got a chance to walk across the white sand with a little help and dip her feet into the cool Gulf waters. Holt turns 101 Dec. 13.

GIANT NUTCRACKER

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) -- It's nuts! A giant nutcracker will be the centerpiece of the annual holiday festival near Roseburg, Ore. Toby Johnson created the monster cracker using a chain saw. It will stand more than 40 feet tall and the nut-crushing power comes from a motor. Cranes are being used to assemble the nutcracker at the site of the festival, which opens Sunday. Sponsors tell The News-Review they're sending documentation to the Guinness people to earn a world's record for the biggest nutcracker.

 
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