Skip to main content

Christmas Traditions: Older and Newer Each Year!

Tree: recycled.

Manger scene: boxed.

Ornaments: packed (those that survived two tree falls!).

Lights: wrapped.

Various other decorations: garaged.

It always amazes me how quickly the Christmas decorations are put away, when I compare to how labor-intensive they are to set up.  At the church, I am always thankful for those who volunteer their time to help in this effort, particularly the putting away—there’s no anticipated excitement in putting away, since it’s way too early to start thinking about Christmas 2010 (although thanks to a recent Twilight Zone episode I have a head start on my Christmas Eve sermon!).  At home, my duties are limited to putting the lights on the tree.  One of our family traditions, inherited from my father, is the annual Dad complaining about Christmas tree lighting.  It’s a joy-filled time for all, particularly Christy.  After a couple of hours and lots of moaning, the tree is lighted, and I get to supervise the boys and Christy hanging ornaments.  My job is to point out “holes” that need to be filled.  I am particularly good at this task.

But that was sooo late November.  Now it’s early January, and after working at the church last Saturday morning I came home to find our tree unceremoniously dumped on our doorstep, waiting to be delivered to the tree recycling place.  Everything was stacked in boxes, ready to be stored in the garage.  Yep, Christmas was over for another year.  The only reminders are a couple of forgotten decorations that need to be put away, and the new toys, puzzles, books, and other gifts the boys received.  Are there lessons we can cling to from Christmas 2009 that will help us going forward?  Here are a couple:

  1. Weather happens.  This was the first “white Christmas” in the Dallas area in 86 years.  And wow, was it white!  Walking home from the 5:00 Christmas Eve service the wind and snow blew from every direction.  Reports of cancelled services all over North Texas were on the news.  Seeing unusually low numbers at our 8:00 and 11:00 services, I was reminded of what a privilege it is to worship in the first place, how special it is to be together on such a holy night.
  2. Even at Christmas, evil is still real.  An idiot tries to blow up an airplane, a sick attempt to glorify God through the suffering of others.  Our faith teaches us to be bold in the face of fear and death; still, there are real dangers out there.  Remember, Jesus himself was born under threat of murder (Matthew 2).  I was reminded to be grateful to live in peace, and to be mindful of those who live under constant threat of violence.
I am sure all of us learned something new this Christmas.  Maybe that’s one thing that makes Christmas special: as much as it is familiar, same Bible stories, favorite movies, family traditions (grumpy Christmas light hangers of the world, unite!), there is usually something new.  Somehow God uses the “old, old story” of Christmas to give us a new perspective on our current story.  While everything else is put away, that message we can keep out and share with others. 

Wishing you God’s peace and joy in 2010 and beyond!
-Pastor Frank

P.S.  Another tradition: the 3rd annual Epiphany Party at the parsonage, this Sunday, 2:00-4:00 p.m. (come and go).  Dessert will be served.  Christy, the boys, and I would love to see you there!


Popular posts from this blog

Reflecting Upon Newtown

Note: I offered these words during the prayer section of worship Sunday, December 16.

Last Friday was a day full of surprising ministry. After I wrote my usual Friday email devotion to the church, I received a call from Byron Proutt, our missions coordinator. He and others had recently partnered with Park Cities Presbyterian on a project, and their missions director called Byron to say another ministry was unable to pick up several boxes of food for their pantry—could we use it? Of course we could! So Pastor Gregg, Mr Johnny, and I rolled out to the warehouse and hauled back 80 boxes of food. Praise God! After we unloaded it Gregg and I went to Kroger to give them a letter of appreciation for making our Thanksgiving baskets for hungry families a priority. After I dropped Gregg off at home, I turned on my radio for the first time that day and heard the reports of the shootings in Newtown, Conn. I could not believe what I heard, especially as a father of young children.

I came back to m…

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…