A 'reason' for the 'season'

12/25/2013

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it's easy to forget what Christmas is supposed to be about — family, traditions and for many, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

"We've gotten so caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, we often forget to take time out to celebrate Christ's birth and not focus on self," said Cynthia Lavrenz, family life minister and director of Christian education at Trinity Lutheran Church.

She said that a focus on material things has resulted in a lack of tradition.

"It's such a fantastic time for families to reunite and make those holiday Christmas traditions and if you've got children in your life, share those memories and traditions and pass them on," Lavrenz said, adding that people get so wrapped up in shopping that many holiday traditions aren't being passed on.

She admits to being a kid at heart and said she still loves seeing the amazement in children's eyes as they walk into the church and see the giant-sized Christmas tree all lit up.

Lavrenz, who teaches all age groups at the church, said that over the holidays she has tried to convey the importance of the joy of the Christmas season and being together in Christ's word.

"Our families have taken so many different shapes and sizes with so many of us living here there and everywhere — it's important to be in a church home to have that family, if you don't have blood relatives," she said. "People need to know that there are other opportunities for family at church — the holidays are the biggest time of the year for depression for most people. My prayer for everyone is they take the opportunity to be in worship together and celebrate in Christ's birth."

She shared some simple advice about the holidays.

"Allow yourself to be a child again, to be in amazement," she said.

When the question, 'What is the reason for the season,' was posed on Facebook, many people agreed with Lavrenz.

Nataly Ortiz of Garden City, said that she makes a conscious effort to teach her children what it's really about.

"The reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I have kids who are small and we do not celebrate Christmas full of gifts. We are teaching our children that Christmas is not about the presents or who gets more than others, it's the celebration of the birth of The Lord," Ortiz said on her Facebook post. "They are learning that gifts are not what's important for Christmas and a gift or two from Santa is just enough."

Ginger Ohnick-Gallardo said that she tries to convey the same thing to her kids.

"Its Jesus' birthday!! We talk about how Jesus was born. We also talk about the gift of giving to others," Ohnick-Gallardo said in her Facebook remarks.

Amy Gale Gillen of Garden City put the whole thing in perspective.

"Santa doesn't watch over us, GOD watches over us," Gillen said, also from her Facebook page.

Pastor David Bell of First United Methodist Church said he believes God can be found in every aspect of Christmas.

"If gift giving is a response to God's love for us and we're wanting to share that love for others, then that's a good thing," Bell said on Facebook. "God gave us the ultimate gift in giving us Jesus Christ as the savior of the world and our gift giving is a response to that and hopefully, it teaches us to not only be generous at Christmas, but throughout the year."

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