Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Loving this

I love being engaged. Love my future in-laws. Love wedding planning (even the now-frequent nightmares about wedding day disasters- like missing the ceremony or showing up at the hair salon on the wrong day!). Love looking ahead to the future. Love my fiancĂ©! :)


"Tradition!!!! Tradition! Tradition!!! Tradition!
The papa, the mama, the son, the daughter....

We all know these lyrics, right?? Good ole' Fiddler on the Roof.
This song has been coming back to me the past couple of weeks as we've been celebrating Christmas. Now that I'm engaged, there's 2 families to celebrate with! And, you guessed it- twice as many traditions!
I love them all. My family always watches Miracle on 34th Street on Christmas Eve, Spencer's family goes to the zoo that day, we both make cookies and gingerbread houses, and the list goes on. There's our gorgeous candlelight service at church (my favorite event of the whole season), and of course, there's all the crazy gift opening.
This season, though, I have felt stuck on what I believe Christmas should be. As we sat at our Christmas Eve service, I looked out over the congregation and saw all of the children from Guatemala, Ethiopia, and China who now have a family to celebrate christmas with thanks to the miracle of adoption. I looked at my friend's family who will be leaving on Friday to go pick up 3 children from the Philippines. NO longer will they spend Christmas in an orphanage. Praise be to God! I began to ponder the number of orphans, and was overwhelmed as I considered how many sanctuaries it would take to hold all the orphans in the world. Hundreds. Maybe thousands. Hundreds of sanctuaries packed with children. And yet we still go out and spend billions on our Christmas gifts?? My heart has been torn. Torn between tradition, culture, family, commercialism, and the call to enjoy what we have been given (which is a Biblical principle).
I loved the O family's post this morning entitled a "Grinchy Christmas." You should read it. I have trouble envisioning what I want Christmas to look like for our future family. Spencer and I both feel very strongly about not focusing on the presents, Santa Claus, and all that goes along with that. I loved how the O family turned gingerbread houses into a fundraiser for orphans, a nativity play into an outreach to the neighborhood, a business trip into a sweet father-daughter experience, Christmas gift certificates that will serve as parent-child date nights, serving lunch at a kitchen even with a 2-year old in tow. Those are the things that serve others, bond families together, and keep children's eyes focused on others and not on the presents underneath the tree.
Traditions?? Absolutely. But let's keep them Christ-centered and others-focused, that we may be serving and learning/teaching in the midst of celebration.

Beauty in the Manger

I've seen beauty in the manger, in the pain on Mary's face.
As a tiny babe entered the world, in such a lowly place.
Yet this babe who clutched his mother's breast would come to put the world at rest.
He has come to bring the orphans home, come that homeless no longer roam,
Come to bring health to the sick and feeble, come to bring hope to those who weep.
His little cries ring out in the night, echoes of a world that in sin is not right.
Cries he would sound again and again as he hung on a cross for the sins of all men.
But for now there is beauty in the blood on the mud.
For a girl became a mother, Joseph a faithful  Father,
 a baby so small and yet a King, whose cries through the night will forever ring.