Friday, April 2, 2010

My Holiday Conundrum

Here we are again...Another holiday rolls around and I am once again in a dilemma, minor as it may be at this point in our family.
I have this thing about holidays...Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and even Valentines--There is just a sense of mindlessness when it comes to celebrations, and to be frank, it just gets on my nerves. To celebrate something and to not even consider why, or if your celebration is fitting to what you are celebrating? I mean Christmas! Here we have this time of year that is meant to be a celebration of the fact that God saved humanity by taking on human form and walking this sin-filled Earth, just because he loves us--to save US!! Can we grasp how terrifying it must have been before Jesus, how bad it was?!? There was no hope! and here we have it-Hope is born! and we, as believers have set aside a time to celebrate this, but somehow it has been reduced to an old, fat man being flown around the world by reindeer, dropping off excessive gifts at our homes, and the right wreath on our door, and going into debt to compete with the neighbors "Santa Claus abilities." It's just disgraceful! Ok, ok, ok...I know-Its all in fun. I do enjoy the "holiday season" with all the lights and trees and whatnot, I really do! I mean we have Christmas trees. And Christmas music sure is cheerful and fun and brings back warm, fuzzy memories. I've got no beef with Santa Claus. I mean it's not his fault (cause he doesn't have soul and all). I sure did appreciate him as a kid. But I think I would have been just as pleased if I thought my parents had gotten me all of those gifts and done so simply because they loved me, not because some strange man had watch me be 'a good girl.' I mean isn't that a beautiful reflection of what God did for us through Christs' birth? He sent us this gift because he loves us, not because we have done anything to deserve it, because deserve it we certainly do not.
Halloween--I will not go into detail right now, but on what planet is death (ie skeletons and ghost in your yard) cute and fun? Try explaining to your two year old why your neighbor has a headstone and an arm sticking out of the ground. I mean lets just take a moment and think about what we are celebrating. Oh yeah, what is it again???
Valentines--Isn't it clear (as it is to me with all of these holidays) that people are, at every corner, just trying to get your money!! However, this one is no big deal, if the kids need to give their classmates valentines cards-we'll have the cutest and cleverest ones in the class :)
Easter-May be the worst of all for me-Mac and I had a very honest conversation about Easter yesterday and it went really well. I asked him what Easter was about and to my great surprise he said Jesus. We got into the specifics of it all and why we have a celebration that we call Easter and the more I talked, the more excited he was wonderful and genuine. I told him that some people would probably say things about the Easter bunny as though he were real, or important, but he's not and he certainly has nothing to do with Easter (I am FAR less tolerant of this large, egg carrying bunny than I am of Santa Clause...I mean ....WHAT??) Because once again, what was meant to be a celebration of the fact that Jesus died so we wouldn't have to spend an eternity in hell, and then miraculously came back to life, (defeated death!) has become more about a crazy bunny hiding eggs in your yard...well, my words are too harsh and I can think of a nice way to say it so I will stop there...
So what is the dilemma?? Well, simply this. I don't have any problem at all with my kids going door to door asking for candy, or looking for eggs in our yard (which will never be put there by a large rabbit) because those things are fun and I don't want our kids to resent the true celebration because they are missing the 'fun' parts, and I don't want them to miss the 'fun' parts. But I am also bothered by trying to combine the cultural celebration with the believer's celebration because that is just like saying, the real reason isn't really that exciting so we'll add a little mindless fun to it. It's like being lukewarm, and that I do not want to be.
So what is the answer? How do you steer away from the cultural bastardization of joyful Christ-centered celebrations while not causing your children to be resentful because of missing out? Also, just a note-my desire in all of this is to NOT be legalistic about it. I am in no way opposed to egg hunts or trick-or-treating, I'm just not yet at ease with how to incorporate them into our lives. As I said, not a big issue now, but I want to wrap my head around it as soon as I can, because obviously (and you can confirm this with my mother) it bothers me. Wisdom welcomed...


Meredith said...

A friend of mine sent me this via facebook and I thought these were some good ideas, so I thought I'd share here:
'A friend of mine who has a 2 yr old, 5yr old and 6 yr old uses these really creative ways to incorporate secular with spiritual when it comes to holiday.. like this year for easter, they dyed easter eggs resurection colors (red for blood of christ---purple for royalty--yellow for radiance after resurrection--green was life I believe and black for sin and white for his clothing he left behind) and as they dyed them she explained the story to them. It AMAZED me at how the girls "got it" even the baby got and remembered what the colors were in her own way.and when they hid eggs they could tell the story and remembered what the colors represented.

She also did like a, well, not sure what to call it, but she got soil, like a pastic bakery box thingy and they made a "village" of sorts where the 3 croses put in, then a tomb out of cardboard, and a rock next to it, then she sprinkled grass seeds and watered them everyday and as grass grow as symbol of new life.

Rebecca is creative with it, but still lets them do hunts etc... but only eggs they bring are those colors and it's so entertaining to watch her kids get the eggs and tell the other kids about "Why is this egg Black/!?!?" '

DeDe said...

What a great idea about the Easter Eggs! I love that! You are just as creative and you will find just the right way for our little ones to enjoy the seasons and understand the meanings. I do think this...that much of this really started taking off in a "big"way with the end of WWII and the mind set of the parents in the 50's. Things changed so very much...they went from the atrocities of Hitler and the first atomic bomb, back home and the world started moving at "light speed!" You know that I agree with you and so appreciate the fact that you want to raise your children with God as their focus. Hopefully, other young parents will see how out of "wack" things have gotten. There is nothing like wonderful memories from your childhood that center around holidays. My fondest memories, when I really think about them, was the excitement of being at Momzy and Dadzy's and being with my cousins. I loved the smell of her house with all of the delicous food cooking and her eggs were always so pretty! I never heard her mention the "Easter Bunny" but I always remember her beautiful Easter lily that she would have. You will start your own traditions and they will be much more important and memorable than any toy or basket that you ever got. Don't stress about this, you will do the right thing and you will do it well!