I really get into the traditions, the music, the decorations and all that... but that by itself doesn't quite do it in terms of creating a sense of meaning for what I think is the best time of the year.
Because it's so easy to get caught up in the getting. Especially for kids, with all the hype about presents. Even strangers in the check-out line ask them, "What is Santa going to bring you for Christmas?"
I don't want to leave it to chance that my kids will pick up on what Christmas is really all about. There was a Baby, a stable and no room at the Inn; it was about bringing Peace on Earth and Good Will towards Mankind. It was about Love and Giving and Hope.
So this year we are taking the bull by the horns and focussing early on the Giving side of Christmas.
I have been inspired by my friend Gail, who has involved her 4-year-old Livvy in a project to raise money to buy a Cow for a family in Africa through World Vision's Gifts of Hope.
I was also inspired by the Watoto Childrens Choir from Uganda who visited our church recently. The children all all orphans whose parents have died of AIDS; they have been rescued and given new families and a future through Watoto. I checked out their website and found out that Watoto have also recently begun a Baby Rescue Centre, the "Bulrushes." (see the before and after pictures; click to read the story)
So adding it all together, our family has begun a Project to raise funds to help Watoto rescue some Babies. We are also inviting some of our friends and neighbours to pick a project of their own and join us in making this Christmas about Giving; about making Room at the Inn, and populating some Stables! We have sat down as a family and come up with some workable ways the kids can get involved in raising money. Click here to read more on our fundraising efforts.
Then on December 6th we will bring everyone together for a fabulous Christmas Party. Because Christmas is also about Celebrating and Joy. There will be Food and Music and Lights and Games and Santa Claus (hey I have no problem with the guy in the red suit). And I plan to decorate a big Tree with symbols of all the Gifts we have managed to gather.
As they say the Journey of a Thousand Miles begins with a single step. Our journey has begun - I'll keep you all posted!
(Princess with one of the Christmas Cards we are making to sell)