Thursday, December 13, 2007


My husband and I taught our first lesson for the middle school students at church this past Sunday. We are going to be teaching once-a-month and I really think that I am going to like this even better than teaching the younger children. They pay attention, participate and are pretty funny and we have doughnuts after class. So, all good.

The lesson was about 'what Christmas is all about'. For most people it is about 'giving and receiving' which is a big part in my family. I love to buy gifts for my children and see their excitement on Christmas morning. I like to see how much they enjoy shopping for the people on their list. (they take after me) Of course the down side of this is : What if you get a bad gift or don't get what you want? Is your Christmas ruined? So much of this relies on others, to buy you the right present or for them to like what you picked out.

Another big part of Christmas is 'gathering together'. I have a very large family, my dad is the eldest of 7. So with lots of cousins, who are starting to get married and have children of their own it makes a huge group. Even if some people don't come we overflow the house. This year we are going to my aunt and uncle's in Cranberry Twp. (bless them) I wonder if some time in the future we might have to rent a hall. It is really nice to get together with everyone. I am enjoying my cousins most of whom are grown-ups now, although my youngest cousin is ~9 months old and is absolutely adorable. At the lesson we talked about 'the weird family member'. We all have one right? We mentioned that the weird person in your family could be you. All of the children assured us that it wasn't them and then told us about various strange family members they have. We had to reign them in at this point, everyone wanted to out-weird each other. Do we want to hear about groping relatives? No!!

Next we talked about getting in the 'Christmas spirit'. Decorating...baking cookies...sending cards... shopping...wrapping presents...going to concerts... the list goes on and on. Do we all have to be like Martha Stewart? I am definitely not!!! I do put up a wreath and we have some white lights in our bushes but we look like minimalists compared with some of our neighbors. There is one family in my neighborhood that goes way overboard. (I bet you have one too!) They have a wide assortment of light-up plastic figures, tons of lights and even boxes with moving figures like store windows. It has so much going on it looks a bit trashy, but they love doing it and its not just for Christmas, they decorate for all holidays.

My husband and I are a little bah..humbugish when it comes to this spirit thing. He doesn't care if we decorate at all. Cookies? Do we really need them? Christmas cards? I rarely send them although last year we had a family picture taken at Disney and sent it to relatives. I still have some if any of you would like to put it in a prominent place and gaze fondly at us throughout the year. Any takers? Okay, I admit that I do like shopping and I don't mind wrapping presents although I haven't started yet.

So, what is Christmas really all about? We know right? Jesus coming to earth as a baby to redeem us all. I love Christmas Eve. The work is done and we can focus on God's wonderful gift to us. I hope that you all have a wonderful stress-free Christmas and find the time to focus on Jesus this season.


Tim said...

I can assure you that you, Laurel, and I are the weirdos because we have blogs. End of story.

That, and I don't have a photo of you guys in my room. Actually, the only photo I do have displayed is of my parents and I (my brother couldn't come that day). So if you'd like to add a year-old Christmas card to the gift I'm sure you've already got picked out... go ahead. ;)

That said, I do tire of the commercialism of Christmas, but I do believe that tradition is an important part as well. Which reminds me, now that I'm done with finals, today is the day I set aside to do my Pittsburgh-area Christmas shopping. Oh, no, I've got to get started!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good... morning, I guess it is right now.

Beverly Cwalina said...

I think it is fun teaching older kids Sunday School. I have taught various ages, mostly little ones. Last year I taught 2nd and 3rd grade and that was great, but this year I am teaching 6th, 7th and 8th grade and love it for the reasons you gave.

I would think otherwise about the truly weird one in our family... but that said, I also feel like it is me sometimes! (Don't we all do quirky things?)

I am no Martha Stewart, but I have been thinking about what I remember from Christmas when I was my sons' ages and the one thing I came up with was that we always baked and decorated those paint cookies and played lots of games. As it turns out, my boys love to bake and decorate sugar cookies, so that is on the list of things to do later today after Scott's Basketball Game this morning.

Speaking of his basketball, they got their uniforms last night and the decal on his shirt is obviously off center and not straight - what a bummer!! The game this morning is in Monongahela. This travel basketball is going to be fun!

But back to the real meaning of Christmas. We try to remember that Jesus came as God's gift to the world. That's why Santa only brings one present to my kids, and the rest are from Dad and Mom. I know that sometimes they probably forget that is why Santa only brings one gift and it is more for my benefit that we say that, but I hope that the importance of that gift will really sink in someday in my kids' minds. It is really the only one we need!