Dr. Jamie Jenkins: What Do We Really Want for Christmas?

Are you doing anything different for Christmas this year?

Which traditions will you continue and which ones will be discarded? Are there new traditions that need to be started?

Will you experience "peace on earth" and extend "goodwill to all people" during this holiday season? Or will you become stressed and anxious because of the expectations we have allowed to prevail.

Will Christmas be a joyful time or a difficult time? Will the credit card bills pile up and cause you to be financially strapped after the holidays?

A few years ago our family decided to stop buying presents for other family members except for the grandchildren. After all, there was really nothing that we needed and if we wanted something we would buy it for ourselves. This decision eliminated a lot of stress and unnecessary spending and has enhanced our family's time together at Christmas.

There are many "little" changes that we can make to enrich our observance of Christmas and help us focus on the Reason for the Season.

Advent Conspiracysuggests that the celebration of Christ's birth has deteriorated from "a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love" into "a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists."

Is this what we really want out of Christmas? If you answered yes to that question, the solution offered is simple. During this season of Advent follow these four suggestions.

Worship Fully: Make sure you attend worship services the remaining Sundays of Advent and Christmas Eve. Be present for special services of music and pageantry.

Spend Less: Buy one less gift this year. Reduce the amount allotted to each person on your gift list. Consider not exchanging gifts among the adults in your family.

Give More: When you reduce your gift buying expenditures, you will have more resources to give to persons who are in need. Give it!

Love All: Jesus was known to be a friend to people on the margins of society. Join him in spending time with folks who are not among your usual circle of friends. Visit a homeless shelter or a children's hospital. Invest some time and energy with an organization that serves the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick.

Changing some of our Christmas holiday routines could lead to a new discovery of the joy of Christmas. So, what changes will you make this Christmas in order to more fully celebrate and share the Greatest Gift on earth?

Jamie Jenkins