Christmas for my family and I hold a very different meaning than it does for the Christian community and the world. My husband was raised in all the traditions of Christmas, pagan and Christian both but I was not raised to think one way or another about it. I come from a traumatizing past, so I have said, but what I have not told you is that it was not always that way.
When I was first adopted it had seemed I finally found a place to belong after years in foster care. We moved twice and the second time would become my very first home. The last peaceful memories I had in that house was of Christmas. I had no idea I was not alone there. My brothers said that was the same for them. Christmases continued for a little while even during the abuse. At one point I believed in Santa Clause. No one really taught me to in my home but there was enough in the world to encourage my beliefs. I eventually found out about Santa, and it broke my heart and angered me for many years. No one likes to be deceived. But it was not those things that made Christmas special in my heart. It was not the story of the birth of Christ and it was not the Christmas lights that stilled my soul. It was the only time abuse did not happen. It was the only time of the year I experienced peace ,rest and joy.
When my first born was born I began to think seriously about why and how we celebrate every holiday. It took us years to sift through everything but we now have come to a conclusion. My husband had his own experiences and he too wanted to do things differently for his children. We began to think “What do we want to sow into our children in these early years and what will it produce in them in their present and one day future?”
Christmas began to be our focus holiday because if we were going to celebrate something we should know the truth about it. We learned that Paganism is closely tied to the origins of Christmas in the church and at one point there was no Christmas at all. We found no mention in the Word to celebrate the birth of Christ only to remember His sacrifice in frequent communion. We read about the pagan rituals the birthed the songs and things we use every Christmas in our house hold. In the end we were mortified by everything we found and decided we would not celebrate it religiously but in a different way.
We rarely use the word celebrate and now instead treat it as any other season of the year.
When I was researching I found something that brought up my memories of Christmas to the fore front of my mind. I watched a video on Christmas in Europe and was intrigued by the history of it there. There was no such thing as Christmas at one time but they treated it as a seasonal time of family togetherness, thankfulness, rest and goodwill. This is exactly what Christmas is now for our clan. We still hang up the tree, stockings, garland and decorate the house with lights. In the corner of our T.V stand you will find a nativity that is specially set up by only me every season. But there are no Christmas beliefs tied to any of it. We just want to create an environment of comfort and Joy.
I will always remember how I felt those winter months sitting on the couch with my brothers. The feelings of peace and safety were such a gift to me that no toy ever gave. I watch my babies every year light up with wonder and when I asked them this year what they like most about this season, I was surprised by the answer. My Izabella looked up with those brown eyes and a smile and said “I love that we are together and we can snuggle.” My cup runneth over.