Have you read John Grisham’s novel Skipping Christmas or watched the film adaptation Christmas with the Kranks? It’s about a couple who decides to forego the usual traditions of Christmas gifts, decorations and parties in favor of taking a vacation during the holidays. It doesn’t take long for them to experience opposition to the idea from others, and to begin making exceptions to their pledge, culminating in a full-blown traditional celebration at the last minute when their daughter announces her unexpected return home for Christmas.
I’m no Scrooge. I like the Christmas season. I enjoy exchanging gifts and especially spending time with family. I enjoy seeing Christmas decorations in the neighborhood and, in fact, wish more houses had them. But you know what? I’d be in favor of doing what the premise of the book and movie suggest – skipping the usual trappings of the season and instead concentrating on enjoying time with family and worship with my church family.
Oh, it’s a safe bet that we’d still get presents for our children and grandchildren, but I’d be quite happy for nobody to have to think about getting gifts for me. There isn’t a thing I really need that I don’t already have. There are things I want, but I can get those myself when I decide. And it would sure be nice to have a December that wasn’t booked to the gills with non-stop events due to every possible group and organization with which we are affiliated thinking they have to have a Christmas event of some kind.
Like the Kranks, I’d be perfectly happy to book a cruise with family and get away for a while. I could still celebrate the reason for the season – the coming of Christ to earth in that most selfless act to bridge the chasm between sinful men and a holy God. I’d still be happy to put emphasis on the experiences of the season for the youngest members of the family. Other than that, though, it would thrill me to let simplicity, worship, and time with family be the focus.
I won’t hold my breath for that to happen, but with each passing year I’m more and more ready for that to come to pass. Traditions don’t last forever. Someone has to initiate change.