I read a blog post recently that said “I love Jesus a lot even if I don’t totally love Christmas.” I couldn’t agree more. Honestly at the first mention of the Christmas season my insides cringe. The Monday after Thanksgiving I can begin to feel the stress level in my body start to rise and some years I even just wish we could skip the whole month of December. But if I am truthful it has nothing to do with Christmas and all to do with expectations and culture that I allow myself to be drawn into. What I do love about the Christmas season is the memories. I remember my grandmother always reading Luke 2 before we opened presents, candlelight Christmas eve services, putting up the Christmas tree on my birthday (which happens to be exactly two weeks before Christmas), making my great aunt’s fudge, decorating cookies and delivering them to neighbors, looking at the Christmas tree lights, lighting Advent candles, watching White Christmas, going to see the Nutcracker, and Christmas music playing while we eat dinner. The list could go on and on. Those memories are what I want to hold onto and want to seek to create during Christmas. Memories that help me truly remember Jesus and celebrate with those I love.

One of my treasured memories from last year was our church Christmas Party at Oak Park. I am one of those people who love gray hair so the thought of celebrating with our church and residents at Oak Park sounded fabulous to me. Let me tell you it did not disappoint. I met new friends, I ate great food, I listened to good music and even sang along, I heard lots of laughter, I watched dancing, I watched people connect, I enjoyed time with my family and my extended church family. I found a place to be present and bask in the joy of the season without expectations or pressure to be anything else.

When the date was set for this year’s party it was one of the first things I put on the calendar as a must attend. I am holding hope for another great memory to be created. And as I look toward other events or activities that are beginning to fill my calendar I want them to be memory makers too. I want to find places to be with those I love, to still my heart and listen to the story of Jesus who came to change the world.

Pictures are from last year’s Christmas Party. If you would like to join the fun mark your calendar for Wednesday night, Dec 21 at Oak Park at 5:15 pm.