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New Celebrations is published by CyberMin Resources  Editor and Proprietor, Clyde Griffith

© CyberMin Resources 2016

Alternative Resources for Discovering and Celebrating Emmanuel Throughout the Year!


How can we make real the meaning of Emmanuel - "God with us" - during this Christmas season?

How can it be a time of joyful celebration that does not undermine our faith?

* Let Advent be Advent! Reclaim the weeks before Christmas as a time to prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth through prayer, study, and reflection.

Traditionally, Advent was a time for disciplined self-examination.

Now the first Sunday of Advent sometimes inaugurates four weeks of celebrating.

Let the traditional Advents texts, which emphasize preparation and self-examination, set the tone for the weeks before Christmas in your family and congregation.

* Resist the forces of commercialism which tell us that the only way to show love is to buy.

Those forces are so great, especially in the months before Christmas, that we need what John Francis Kavanaugh has called "a spirituality of cultural resistance."

Worship, church school and all other parish activities are the places where this spirituality can be nurtured in the months before Christmas.

* Reconsider perpetuating the Santa Claus traditions in your household. This is a difficult issue, and one which people united against the commercialization of Christmas can disagree.

Some families are enjoying a rediscovery of the St. Nicholas tradition and the creation of new traditions. Take the steps necessary to bring a new sense of integrity to your household's Christmas celebration.

* Restore meaningful gift-giving practices that are personal, thoughtful, and considerate of the Earth's resources and people. Find ways to give of yourself through what you can make, what you can teach someone to do, and gifts of your time, especially to younger children and older parents.

For those who consider themselves busy professionals, time may be the most treasured gift to be given.

* Rechannel a significant amount - say 25% - of the money you spent last Christmas to the hunger program or other social ministries of the Church as a "birthday gift" for Jesus. As Jesus said, "Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:40) Do a cost analysis of your family's spending last Christmas. Then, covenant with family members to rechannel a significant part of it this year.

* Make your celebration inclusive, not exclusive. When you gather your circle of family and friends at Christmas, include those who might otherwise be alone. Their presence will be a reminder to you of the purpose of this celebration, as well as bring added joy to all involved.

"Making room" means rejoicing in the promise of Christ's birth and joining in the effort to fulfill it. Merry Christmas!

--Milo Thornberry

For more ideas, visit SimpleLivingWorks.org