30 Nov Discovering a New Christmas
by Rachel Forrey
The holidays without someone you care about can be challenging. The first Christmas since my dad had passed away started out looking like it would be lonely. Most of my family were still processing through the loss and were hesitant to celebrate at all. My dad always made the holidays so fun by cooking a big Christmas Eve dinner, sharing lots of laughter, and decorating our house like Chevy Chase did in Christmas Vacation. Without Dad around, it just didn’t feel right. But I was determined that while we couldn’t have it the way it had always been, I wasn’t going to let Christmas just pass by.
So instead of our traditional salmon dinner, I offered to anyone in our family who wanted to join us that I’d make personal pizzas. And although I couldn’t quite pull off Whoville status house decorations, I could do my best. December 24 arrived and, to my surprise, about forty of our family and friends joined us to celebrate Christmas Eve together. That night was filled with joy, laughter, and cheer, making it the best Christmas we’ve shared to date.
Whether you’ve lost someone close or you’re not able to be with those you love on Christmas, it’s all about making the best of what you have. It would have been easy to let Christmas “just go by,” but through changing our normal traditions, we were able to enjoy the holiday – it just looked a little different. Sometimes that’s all it takes to turn a difficult Christmas into a great one. Whether Christmas is your favorite time of year or you can’t wait for it to be over, I think we can each find creative ways to make this season one that is filled with joy, caring, hope, and most importantly, centered on Jesus.
As a member of the leadership team for Northshore Kids, we’ve been hard at work figuring out ways we can help make Christmas great for our kids and families too. Our hope is to capture the imaginations of the children at Northshore to help them realize what Christmas is all about.
Each Sunday in December, characters from the Christmas story will roam the hallways of the Northshore Kids’ area and will included carolers and skits. These characters will weave together a story that will culminate on Christmas Eve in our Traveling Christmas Story. On December 24, kids will be led by an angel (played by me!) through the rooms in our Northshore Kids’ area to experience each part of the Christmas story.
We have been giving our Advent books to families to explore with their children. Last Sunday, a Northshore family received their book and told their friends how excited they were to do this together. They asked if they could send a book to their friends out of state, and we said, “Of course!” How wonderful it is that we get to share the Christmas story with others.
Our Family Service project is another way we will share the gift of Jesus to those in our community. Families with infants through high school students are collecting toiletry items until December 17 and will deliver them to the Northshore Kids’ area. We will gather in the Student Center to put together hygiene kits that same day so they can be distributed around our city through the Union Gospel Mission.
These opportunities are just a few of the ways that we can take time to be together and inspire our kids and families to experience the true meaning of Christmas.
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