"Tis the Season to be Jolly?" 10 ways to celebrate Christmas more authentically.
Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Crowded among the story books about happily-ever-after there was a little book, I will never forget, Tear Water Tea. It's a classic tale about the healing power of grief. Inevitably, it elicits a wry smile from everyone I know who remembers it. With a Mr. Roger's-style of gentleness and a touch of parody, the author "goes there" with topics of grief and loss written for children.
Now that I am all grown up, I don't read Tear Water Tea any more, but I am reading Prophetic Lament by Soong-Chan Rah. I find him equally moving and wise as he confronts our reluctance to lament. We, Americans, like to take "a moment of silence" but not a second more. Could I take an hour instead of a moment? I would probably fall asleep like Jesus' disciples did in the Garden of Gethsemane.
So how can we celebrate the birth of the "man of sorrows" more authentically? Here are some ideas:
Set a place setting for everyone you wish was around your Christmas table. Go ahead and bring in the extra card table if you have to. Be sure to take pictures.
Make a collage by clipping things out of old magazines that remind you of a person you miss.
Light a single candle in a dark living room and play this music. See if everyone can be quiet for 15 minutes. If you can't stay quiet, read these verses instead.
Make a play list of your 10 favorite sad songs.
Write down all the memories you can think of your childhood Christmas. What did you eat, what did it smell like, what did you do, who were you with?
Make a list of all the tragedies in the Bible. What did God say about these? Draw or paint a picture of one of them.
Watch "All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914"
Find a movie about displaced immigrants, like Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. Here are some suggestions.
Better yet, go find some displaced immigrants in your town and bring them coffee and donuts.
Do some research here about how Christians celebrate around the world. Hint: its not just Christmas and Easter.
I want to leave you with a rendition from the great Gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson. Particularly in 2020, it is a bit more fitting than "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree." Click here to go to You Tube to hear the song.
This sculpture struck me when I saw it on 5th Ave. I hate to admit it, but that is probably what I would have been doing if I were Joseph.