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I hope all of you enjoyed your Christmas holiday and time with your family.  I know I did.  What I did not enjoy was getting the flu after all of the holidays.  Even though I did not have the Christmas break I am used to, this being my first Christmas season with a real person job, I did get to do some relaxing and a good bit of reading.  I read a couple books on church marketing and diligently took notes so I could share my thoughts with you, and then in one of my cleaning sprees, misplaced them.  So while I continue to look for them I wanted to ask you, did you read any thought-provoking or just plain enjoyable books over the holidays?

My sister has left campus for Christmas break.
My husband starts his Christmas break today.
Since I am now out of school and have a real person job I no longer get a Christmas break.
This is quite sad.
So, to take a little rest I am going to take a Christmas break from blogging, so I will see you all in the new year.

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!

Christmas is one of the perfect opportunities to see growth in your church.  Christmas is a very happy time when most people are open to growth and change.  I personally feel like I grow a lot during the Christmas season.  I think, for me, it has to do with getting closer and closer to Jesus’ birth and the reminder of how humbly he started.  I love the Relient K song “Celebrate the Day” because I think it communicates the thoughts we should be having at Christmas.  Here are the lyrics and a link to the song for you to enjoy and I hope it communicates as deeply to you as it does to me.

 

Celebrate the Day—Relient K

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey.
If only I could find the words to say to let you know
How much you’ve touched my life because
Here is where you’re finding me
In the exact same place as the New Years Eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We’re less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time that you opened your eyes
Did you realize that you would be my Savior
And the first breath that left your lips
Did you know that it would change the world forever

And so this Christmas I’ll compare
The things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That you have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
And the hope that, that you give
That you were born that I might really live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

I, I celebrate the day
That you were born to die
So I could one day pray for you to save my life

Hello Everyone!

As you can tell I go through writing fits.  I’ll do a really good job for a few days and then it seems I fail for a few months.  Every day I think, “I really want to write something for my blog today.”  And then I sit around, for a few hours, trying to think of something to write about.  Today started out as one of those days and then it hit me.

At Christmastime I think it is really easy to get sucked into the consumerism and “I Need” syndrome.  I love to give people the best gifts I can, which can be hard when you are on a tight budget.  And as much as I do not like to admit this, sometimes buying gifts can get to be depressing.  When that happens I realize how skewed my viewpoint is.  I think that this is especially easy for churches to do.  When your church is deep into the holidays it is hard to realize how far you have fallen from the true meaning of the season.

I would tend to think that December is one of the high points for churches doing marketing, but maybe, like gift giving, they are doing it for the wrong reason.  When you start a marketing campaign around the holidays it is important to have specific goals to focus on, so when you start to get dragged deeper into gimmicks and hype you can look back and say, “look from where we have fallen from.”

There have been several times already this December (and it is only the fourth) that I have had to take a step back and say, “Wait, why am I doing this?”  Here is an example:  I am in charge of the children’s Christmas program this Christmas, which is happening this coming Sunday.  I have been freaking out for about a month now about everything being perfect.  Saturday night it hit me, why do I want this to be perfect?  The answers I came up with:  I do not want people to be disappointed or think it was bad, I do not want the kids to be embarrassed about it, and I’m a perfectionist.  That’s when I stepped back and whacked myself in the head and said, “Really Lauren, those are your reasons?”  I was struck with how selfish I had been and with how I totally missed the point of this Christmas program.  Since then whenever I get stressed or feel myself getting dragged down I just ask myself, “Lauren, why are you doing this children’s program?”  And then I reply to myself, “For the glory of God.”  It has been amazing how much that has changed my attitude.

I think we, the church, need to continually ask ourselves, why are we doing this, and if the answer is not “For the glory of God.”  Then stop it, drop it immediately, and either pick it up with the right attitude or leave it laying on the ground.  I think this is especially true around the holidays when the whole reason for celebration is God’s glory.

Now that we are in the Christmas season, this is something that I have been thinking about.  Christmas starts earlier and earlier every year.  It was the beginning of November when I started hearing Christmas music and seeing the decorations go up.  People were all too willing to get right past Thanksgiving.  Now, Thanksgiving is simply a break from the work week to do Christmas shopping.  I think we need to stop and take the holidays as they come.  It is important to stop for Thanksgiving and be thankful for all that God has done.  I think observing Thanksgiving also helps us to orient our thoughts and ourselves to Christmas.  It helps focus on why we are so thankful for Christmas.  With all the focus on shopping, I do find myself forgetting why I am so thankful for Christmas.  Sometimes we can even lose this in our churches.  I love the idea of churches doing advent services during the Christmas season.  It helps to refocus everyone.  I also think this is a good opportunity to invite people in.  The churches look the best and we start the story from the beginning.  I think that’s so important.  So let’s try to stop and remember why we are thankful for Christmas.