Why celebrate Christmas?

The shopping centres are just quietly starting to decorate windows and a Christmas tune or two on the playlist. Television advertising has already begun to help us decide the best gadget we ‘need’ this year. And then there’s the guessing game of if we’ll even be able to travel to see family this year. I’m not ready for the year to end yet – still so much to do!! The anxiety has already launched itself into conversations with those we are closest to. Sometimes I have to wonder why celebrate Christmas at all?

Picture Perfect

Maybe you love it – it’s a time of family, laughter, love, sharing, shopping, eating, holidays… 

But, you see, Christmas, in some ways, while amazingly nostalgic and a celebration of family, has somehow morphed into a season of unstated expectations. There’s the list of all the things that we think we should do to create the perfect Christmas season. The truth? As beautiful as the rum ball making, card writing, carol singing, tree trimming, crazy shopping, bow topped wrapping and all of that is — that stuff does not define Christmas. That’s not the joy part, honestly. It can be such a stressful time of expense, loneliness, overindulgence, selfishness, and pretence for some.

Personally, I can take it or leave it. While I do love to decorate (a visual feast for a visual person), it can be lonely when it feels like a ‘chore’. I enjoy showering gifts on people (too generously according to some close sources). I love to entertain and prepare lovely food (and eat it), but then complain of being overweight while reaching for another apricot ball. It can leave one feeling deflated rather than joyous.

Making Memories

In my own childhood, Christmas was always celebrated with the focus very much on the Christian message and a wider family gathering. We were never lavished with gifts, although gifts were carefully chosen for us, and we had more than enough. (If I’m honest, I don’t recall too many of the gifts.) I have very fond memories of childhood and our family gatherings. 

The Reason for the Season 

When my children were young, my top priority was always sharing and reinforcing the Christian meaning of Christmas. Let’s face it – without that there wouldn’t BE Christmas. It’s what I believe, so I wanted to share it. It was the focus on our celebrations. We would participate in the Christmas shoebox appeal and the Kmart Wishing Tree. We’d make our own gifts to give to the postie and neighbours. We read about the Biblical Christmas story, had our own interactive Nativity scene, played Christmas music, visited the re-enactment of the Christmas story downtown, hosted a “birthday party for Jesus” with our friend and decorated our own tree with handmade decorations. 

Cultivating Christmas

As the silly season starts and you begin to consider YOUR OWN Christmas and the celebrations that you will have, I encourage you to think about WHY you celebrate Christmas? Are your memories happy or not? Do you cringe at the thought of having to be nice to ‘that’ family member? Do you feel as if you don’t ‘give’ enough or even have the capacity to give? What do you believe about the reason for Christmas; is it Santa and his elves, or does it hold a much bigger truth for you? (My children also knew about Santa and left cookies for him.)

What are the traditions and ‘life lessons’ that you want your children to gain from this holiday? Jot those ideas down and share them with your partner and family, then maybe just choose one of those to focus on this year. And if we put our thinking caps on together, maybe we can come up with some ideas on how to celebrate Christmas intentionally, while remaining stress-free!

Natalie Bizzell

Natalie is a wife, mum to 3 grown children (and mother-in-law to 3). She is a part-time primary school teacher, small business owner and Mentor at Humeridge Church of Christ MOPS.

How do you cope with curveballs?

I write this as Melbourne, my home city, comes out of lockdown. It’s been the longest COVID lockdown that any city in the world has had to live through. It’s been hard and at times overwhelming. But now people have been having haircuts and beauty treatments as well as hanging out in restaurants since midnight. ‘Freedom Friday’ was likened to New Year’s Eve by local morning radio presenters. I, on the other hand, ironically, am still in lockdown. Life throws us curveballs, and the pandemic is but one of this generation’s curveballs. How do you cope with curveballs? Continue reading “How do you cope with curveballs?”

Every Mum Conference – Celebrating 21 years of MOPS Australia

MOPS Australia has just passed 21 years! So, on Saturday so we held a party! We invited all our friends to our 21st birthday conference – the Every Mum Conference. Over 200 women joined the celebration – leaders, mums, and special guests from around Australia, as well as our keynote speakers from MOPS International. We also added a Friday night Theme Launch for our MOPS group leaders. Continue reading “Every Mum Conference – Celebrating 21 years of MOPS Australia”

This time next year…

I am a forward planner, always thinking of my next project or what needs to happen next with the project I’m currently working on. I do find it hard to live in the moment because my mind is always racing ahead with ideas and plans, ready to take the next step before I’ve even really stopped to look at the one I’ve just taken. And this blog post is no different – I’ve got some really exciting news to share about this time next year! Continue reading “This time next year…”

Roll out the red carpet.. it’s award season!!

What a delight and a privilege it has been for the MOPS Board to receive nominations for MOPS Awards from MOPS leaders around the country recognising the significant contribution of their fellow leaders. The Board considered each nomination and were again impressed with the dedication and commitment of so many wonderful leaders in our MOPS community. Continue reading “Roll out the red carpet.. it’s award season!!”

The Most Courageous Decision I’ve Ever Made

The box of tissues made me laugh.

They were the first thing I noticed when we walked into the marriage counsellor’s office that day. That neat box of tissues, sitting in the middle of the table, between the water jug and two glasses.

I suppressed a chuckle. Does he think we’re going to end up in tears? I wondered silently. Continue reading “The Most Courageous Decision I’ve Ever Made”

Reframing regret, and other u-turn moments

I read somewhere recently that there were certain things that you should do in your 20s to avoid regrets in your 30s and 40s.

Well, it’s too late for me, I just turned 41, and so I read on to see what I had missed out on :D. Continue reading “Reframing regret, and other u-turn moments”

Free to lead

There are currently around 7.6 billion people in the world and I’m pretty certain they’ve all had a mother. These mothers are all different shapes, colours, sizes and have all had different life experiences. They mostly all adore the child that they get to call their own and that love is mostly returned fiercely. Some are loud and hilarious and others are quiet and kind, while others are adventurous and others nurturing. Very few are all of these things. Continue reading “Free to lead”