Christmas Traditions and Memories Give Us Strength During Hard Times.
Behold, I give you tidings of great joy! (Luke 2:10)
Christmastime is upon us. It is a time to be merry, and happy and bright. But for many of us this year, the economic crisis our country is experiencing threatens to take the “merry” out of Christmas. It tries to rob us of the joy the season brings.
Fear not… behold! I bring you tidings of great joy!
“Fear Not!” that was what the angel of the Lord said to the shepherds when he woke them up to announce the good news of Christ’s birth. “Fear not!” is a message that resonates today as we celebrate Christmas in 2008.
Let me share with you a childhood memory I have of Christmas that would somehow show that we can be merry without many material things.
I grew up poor by the American Standards, even though in the Philippines I would consider us in the middle class.
Christmas is very important in our family. We have various family traditions connected to this special day that we look forward to very year. Even now that I am living a better life here on Maui, Hawaii – a great part of what gives me the fuzzy warm feeling of Christmas are the warm memories I have as I child.
I remember that every year on December 1, we would go out to eat dinner at a “fancy” restaurant because it’s my parents’ wedding anniversary. That signals the start of our Christmas celebration. That is also the day we go out shopping – grocery shopping which we do only at Christmastime (other days we go to the wet market and farmers market). That is the day we buy clothes and toys (we don’t buy them regularly throughout the year, only on Christmas and on our birthdays).
But I remember one Christmas when that December 1 celebration didn’t’ happen. It was a time when the economy was hard (even harder than what we had). The textile company my father worked for was losing money. Therefore, there was news that the company would not give any Christmas bonuses that year.
I remember that on that December 1 night, when we were all supposed to be eating out (as part of our family tradition), we were just in our house waiting for my father to come home from his company meeting. I was about 9 years old then, and I remember just being quiet, not knowing if we were going to have any money to celebrate Christmas that year. I remember watching my mom sitting on the kitchen chair, quietly waiting (most likely praying), not dressing up as she usually would be doing that night. We were just there quiet – with no money to celebrate.
And guess what? That was one of the most memorable Christmas of my life. Even as a young girl, at that time I realized that we don’t really have to have the money, and eat on some fancy restaurant and buy new toys and clothes to be merry on Christmas. I remember reading the Christmas story from one of my schoolbooks. I have read that story about a hundred times, but that night it was special. It gave me joy, peace and contentment. “Behold! I give you tidings of great joy!” the angel said.
Later that night, my father came home. The textile company he was working for did all their best to be able to give some extra money to their workers on Christmas so came home with a little extra. It was too late to go out and celebrate that night. We didn’t have the usual tradition we had that night. We ate rice and scrambled egg at home but we were happy and content.
Now let me ask you … how are you doing this Christmas time? How are your kids doing? Are there fears and worries you might have? Fear not … for behold I give you tidings of great joy – the angel said!
The “merry” of Christmas is here despite the economic crisis. With toys or no toys, new clothes or old, fancy dinner or just rice and egg – celebrate Christmas as a family trusting God, and the warm Christmas feelings will always be there.
Merry Christmas to one and all!
Liza is the blogger behind Liza’s Eyeview and A Maui Blog. Born and raised in the Philippines, she moved to Maui on 1994 to be with her husband (they got married in the Philippines in 1993). They have two wonderful children, a 10 year old daughter and an 11 year old son. She absolutely loves Jesus and Christmas is her favorite time of the year 🙂