Going to Church on Christmas Eve
Posted December 19, 2014on:
I have several strong memories of Christmas when I was a child. Relatives from my mother’s side of the family would gather on Christmas Eve for a grand meal. Then we would gather around a tree that always reached to the ceiling. It was surrounded by a mountain of gifts. Everybody gave something to everybody else. With little fanfare, I would start ripping into all my stuff. It seemed that no one paid much attention to what others were getting. After an hour or so it was over.
One year I asked my dad if we could go to church on Christmas Eve. He agreed. The problem was, I didn’t ask until Christmas Eve. When we got back, the rest of the group was pretty unhappy. We had changed the plan. Maybe we were right but we hadn’t considered the group.
Now we all go to church. Then we gather for some favorite foods. We take turns opening our gifts with considerable fanfare for each one. Though we are only four, it is so meaningful!
To encourage planning and communication we have developed “Let’s Talk About Christmas!” How are we going to celebrate Christmas this year? What is really most meaningful? Who’s going to do what? Are we willing to spend less on ourselves and give more to the needy? Ask your family, relatives, friends questions like these. Write down your decisions and post them. Mark your calendar on October 1st for each year! And remember Buy Nothing Day, the Friday after Thanksgiving!
Graphic: Spirit of Simplicity: Quotes & Art #3-A2166
* * *
Subscribe to SLW! Blog
Click “+Follow” at lower right of blog post, enter a name and email address. Welcome!
* * *
What’s NOW with SLW!
- Send a Message! Be the Message! What Do Our Clothes Say? | Different Messages | New Resource | SLW! has collections of free stickers and fliers for do-it-yourself’ers to use at Christmas or year ’round through the mail and email. For more encouragement, read my blog Seeds of Influence, part 1 | part 2.
- SLW! Podcast WHOSE Birthday? series | TEXT | SPANISH text, entitled “Adviento”
- Episode 35 :: Susan Briehl, Jill Miller and more! || Christmas – New Years – Epiphany || Carols with Justice || Epiphany Gifts || Celebrating Epiphany || Love Gift Advent Tree || An “Alternative” Carol || Birthday Gift for Jesus (poem)
- #34 :: WHOSE Birthday? part 3 – Daniel Berrigan, William Sloane Coffin and more! || The Christmas Game || Advent 4 – Daniel Berrigan || Christmas Memories || Christmas Eve – William Sloane Coffin || Send a Message! Labels || Christmas BINGO
- #33 :: WHOSE Birthday? part 2 – Susan Vogt, Meg Cox, Art Simon, Betsy Taylor | The Gift of Ritual | Giving to the Wrong People | Making the Holidays Meaningful for Your Children
- #32 :: WHOSE Birthday? part 1 – Igniting Christmas Simplicity in Our Hearts
- Legacy WHOSE Birthday Is It, Anyway? Enjoy them now. Share them with your family and congregation face-to-face and through your website, newsletter, study group. Biblical Reflections by Jim & Kathy McGinnis of the Institute for Peace & Justice | PLUS. . . A Simple Christmas | The Joy of Responsible Gift-Giving | A Special Holiday Letter | A Simple Christmas Daily Calendar | What Do Kids Really Want? | Christmas Quiz | Birthday Gift for Jesus (poem) | WHOSE Birthday “Contest” | Bonus Items
REFLECTIONS Through Advent to Epiphany by Miriam Therese “The Singing Nun” Winter. Plus, We Chose Something Different = Making a Change for the Better | These Letters Truly Reflect the Season | Bonus Items. GOD IS COMING! Reflections for Advent and the Christmas Season by Connie and Milo Thornberry. Milo formerly served as director of Alternatives.
Come Ye to Bethlehem: Reflections by Linda-Marie Delloff. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by historian Justo Gonzalez. Reflections by author Marjorie J. Thompson. “Make Ready the Way of the Lord…” by Tom Hall. Plus, The Christmas Game | Hanging of the Greens by Lois Brokering | Ending, Blending & Beginning Christmas Traditions by Mary & John Schramm | A Service for Food Preparation
- SLW! shares resources for this Advent-Christmas-Epiphany in many ways. 1. The WHOSE Birthday? four-part PODCAST series includes reflections and activities by Daniel Berrigan, William Sloane Coffin, Meg Cox, Betsy Taylor, Susan Briehl and many more from edition #18. Episodes 32-35 are released in iTunes and Stitcher Nov. 1 & 15; Dec. 1 & 15. Or you listen to any/all of them at your leisure on the SLW! site. 2. The new online edition of Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? #26 is ready. You can still contribute a Biblical Reflection or Family Activity. 3. Once or twice a week we’ll highlight a series of reflections from a past edition in this blog, as we did in 2013. (To find the 2013 offerings, skim through Nov. and Dec. in the Archives in the right column of this blog.) All three offerings — text, podcast, new, past — are different content.
Fall Festival Resources
- Anyone can use our online Leaders’ Guide and Participants’ Manual to UNPLUG the Christmas Machine Workshop at no charge. No one is allowed to sell copies of these.
- Contribute to our most widely-read resource, Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? for Advent/Christmas, now published online. All 25+ editions are available on the SLW! site. Article Index | Submission Guidelines
- Simpler Living Alternative Daily Calendar – December
- Check out a few of these thought-provoking, timely resources that might meet your personal, family or congregational/group needs. They’re all FREE.
- Treasury of Celebrations*: Create Celebrations That Reflect Your Values and Don’t Cost the Earth Earth – Sept.-Dec. | ADVENT | CHRISTMAS
- Worship Alternatives: Advent/Christmas/Epiphany
- Spirit of Simplicity: ART | QUOTES
- 10 Tips for Simpler, More Meaningful Celebrations | Spanish: 10 puntas
- Alternatives’ Seasonal/Thematic Index
- Jan. – Interviews with Champions of Simple Living Duane Elgin and Susan Vogt
- Recent Responses to all SLW! media with links
What Others Are Doing
- Simplifying Holidays from Northwest Earth Institute
- The Common Good Podcast
Episode 54 :: Lan Richart: Pressing for Justice in the Ecosystems Where Life Thrives or Dies
- Seeing Systems: Peace, Justice and Sustainability – New Course from Northwest Earth Institute
- Conversation about The OneEarth Project and the book, Blinded by Progress: Breaking Out of the Illusion That Holds Us, by Lee Van Ham. | TheCommonGoodPodcast.com, episode 42 | Lee’s new Slide Show
You can access all SLW! podcast audio and the show notes either at SimpleLiving.startlogic.com/SLW-PODCAST or at SimpleLivingWorks.org (then click window #3).
Listen through your computer, iPod, iPad, iPhone (or equivalent).
SUBSCRIBE through iTunes, Stitcher.com or your favorite podcast service. To SUBSCRIBE to email notices, click Comments at the bottom of Show Notes, then check ‘Notify me of new posts by email.’ Please rate us in iTunes and leave a review. Send us your email address to receive the free monthly SLW! eNews. Remember to like us on Facebook. Urge your friends to do the same.
Do your friends a favor. Share our blog and podcast.
Like SLW! on Facebook. | Follow us on Twitter. | Follow us on Pinterest. Share your thoughts on our podcast and blogs. Email Feedback AT SimpleLivingWorks DOT org [or SimpleLivingWorks@yahoo.com or SimpleLivingWorks2@gmail.com], leave a message on our Facebook page or on the SLW! blog.
Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist
For hard copies of Alternatives’ resources at nominal cost, contact ELCA Archives, 321 Bonnie Lane, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 * (847) 690-9410 * firstname.lastname@example.org
We do not solicit or accept donations, nor do we sell anything. All our resources and services are free of charge. We’re an all-volunteer organization. Instead, we urge Alternative Giving. Give away at least 25% of what you spent last year on all celebrations – Christmas, birthdays, etc. — to local, national and international causes.
Copyright: Creative Commons non-commercial attribution share-alike license.
*Treasury of Celebrations: published by Northstone, a division of Wood Lake Publications, BC, Canada, best known for its Seasons of the Spirit curriculum.
Through social media, we extend the mission and resources of the non-profit organization Alternatives, 1973-2011. Simple Living Works! web site home page | Theme/Seasons Index. To learn more about SLW! – our MISSION, for example — please listen to our getting-acquainted episodes, especially #1 and 2. We produce a half-hour podcast twice a month, hopefully educational and inspiring for you, your family and your congregation or group. We blog several times a week.