Michael's Happenings

Reflections on Christmas 2006, Dec 27

What Christmas Means to Us
I am a Christian, and thus Christmas is a (deeply) meaningful time of the year for remembering the gift of Jesus Christ to this world by the Father 2000 or so years ago. The first Christmas was simple, and in my family we don’t attempt a flashy celebration. Some quiet moments of reflection, some songs to lift our voices in combination with family and friends, the reading of God’s Word, some gifts to express our love for the others in our lives … for me those are the hallmarks of a “successful” Christmas. And I really love what happens when you flip the “M” in the phrase “Christmas Love” … Christ Was Love. Given that this is so important to me, the highest and best that I can wish for you according to my worldview is that you would experience that love this Christmas. So let it be!

David’s Song
David (10yr) wrote a Christmas Carol last year, and we used to sing it at our family church service in the morning before work and home school started. This year, Katrina wrote out the music for David’s tune and worked with David to add a couple of lines. We offered it to the Worship Leader at our church as a new Christmas Carol, and so it was sung for the first time in public a week before Christmas. David was invited to bring it along to the Combined Churches Christmas Carol service that evening, and as a consequence, was invited to sing it at two additional church services on Christmas Eve. As you might well imagine, this has been a highlight for us this Christmas. No doubt if Chris or Jon lived down here we’d have it up on YouTube by now …

I *love* giving gifts, but can’t constrain myself to only doing so at Christmas. So … there are regular infusions of gifts during the year, especially ones that just happen to show up unannounced and unexpected. It really makes my day to see the look of pure delight on the face of a child who has been gifted something unexpected or something at an unexpected time. And so … there aren’t loads of presents and gifts at Christmas time. There are some, but not huge quantities thereof. And given the number of children we have, the gifts are fairly and equitably balanced across them, so as not to incite charges of favoritism or feelings of jealously. For example, four of our boys got exactly the same gift from Katrina and me yesterday, and we told them to open them simultaneously and also to face away from each other so they could be the first to see their “own” gift. There’s another round of presents coming up; as of Christmas Eve I had a separate gift stream for 4 of the children, but lacked something for the other 3. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity sooner rather than later to pick up the last remaining things.

Last night I reminded the children that some gifts are given once and celebrated for a long time. For such gifts, it is good to remember to at frequent intervals what was given and the ways in which we benefit from such gifts on an ongoing basis. That obviously applies to the gift of God’s Son, and it also applies to spouses. What an incredible gift I received in this life when Katrina said “yes” to getting married. Woo hoo!

New Friends
I’ve met some fine people during 2006, two of whom I’ve already named above. The problem for me at Christmas time, however, is that I really want to have a great big Christmas party with all my friends, but the challenges of distance make it impossible (at least until we all have teleporters). So … to everyone that I’ve met and engaged with during 2006 … THANK YOU! It has been great to talk, to debate, to learn, to share. You have enriched my life.

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