HOPE 14 is a focus year for mission. Churches are working together for mission and to invest in their communities, putting faith into words and action. The idea is to encourage churches to develop a rhythm of mission throughout the Church calendar. Roy Crowne, HOPE's executive director, said: "Remembrance is a key moment in the calendar when communities expect the Church to play a part. It is a natural season to serve and connect with your neighbourhood.
Let's make churches the heart of these remembrance moments. The Church echoing the heart-beat of its community and pointing to the "greater love" Jesus has for us. HRH Prince Charles said: "The centenary commemorations of the start of the First World War are a significant moment for us all to pause and remember the appalling sacrifices made by so many.
I am delighted, therefore, that HOPE has brought together the churches, Christian ministries, and the military chaplaincies of all denominations to produce resources under the banner of Greater Love. This is clearly a significant moment for the United Kingdom and, indeed, the Commonwealth and so I can only wish this initiative every possible success in its most laudable aims". Resources include a Greater Love booklet and DVD, a collection of psalms, prayers, poetry and hymns and resources for schools and churches to use at Remembrance events.
In addition creative ideas for churches and communities commemorating the centenary of World War 1 are available. The DVD contains short films and interviews from Christian Vision for Men, focusing on the sacrifice made years ago and which is still being made by military families today. The Archbishop of York John Sentamu said:'We all want to move beyond war and conflict to build communities of reconciliation and peace.
We have much to learn as we reflect on the sacrifices made by so many, from so many different communities around the Commonwealth. HOPE equips and supports local churches to effectively share the gospel and good news of Jesus through words and action. The desire is to see long lasting change in the lives of individuals and whole communities.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: " May God use the Church to serve communities as we pause to reflect on the human cost of war borne by a generation years ago. Nor does the giving stop with the adults; the little ones love to put the coins into the Salvation Army buckets where bell ringers ask for your help. They quite understand what it is about and wish to be a part of helping others. They learn giving here and can that be a bad thing? The younger members of our family, beginning at 4 or 5 years old, participate in choosing and buying gifts for siblings and others.
No, the gift won't remain a secret, and it is usually something they want, but they are starting to understand giving and wish to participate. A great time to introduce the concept to them. Christmas is a time of generosity and sharing for us. It can be throwing a few coins into the bell ringers bucket, it can be giving time and work when we would rather be home, warm and comfortable, or it can be sharing our own Christmas.
We often invite someone without nearby family to share our enjoyment of Christmas dinner and the camaraderie of the day. It all adds to the wonder of Christmas and we are never poorer for doing it. Our family has, over the years, developed many traditions just for Christmas. Although the world and stores begin "celebrating" Christmas around Halloween we don't. Everything waits until after Thanksgiving although gift purchases may start as early as the day after Christmas for the next year.
For several years it was a yearly event to find and cut a Christmas tree. Waiting for a snowy day, with the family bundled up and warm we searched through a nearby field that was thick too thick with small pine trees. We usually ended up with a "Charlie Brown" tree that wasn't perfect by any means, but was a wonderful start to the Christmas season.
Those days are gone, the field no longer available, and we now use a shudder fake tree, but it is still a big day when the tree comes out for decoration and our home begins to look like Christmas. Before our children were ever born, my wife made a few Christmas tree ornaments by hand. Ceramic figures of various kinds, with our names on them, and she also made a good number for future use but without names. As children, spouses of children and grandchildren came into our lives names magically appeared on those old ornaments and it is always with wonder when grandchildren find an ornament on our tree with their name on it.
Those ornaments are now 30 years old and more, but they still go up every year. Children always help decorate the tree and are encouraged to add their own handmade ornaments some of those, too, are decades old. When finished, our tree is not the prettiest or neatest around, but it carries memories that are irreplaceable. It is not only a symbol of all that makes up Christmas but of the good times from years ago. Our tree is special to us, and something that always reminds us of what the True Meaning of Christmas really is - the love and sharing of Christmas.
Some of our traditions are just that; traditions for no other reason than to remind us it is Christmas Day. It wouldn't be Christmas without a ham for dinner, or without rotten egg pie for dessert. These are just fun little things that mean Christmas is here. There is nothing special or meaningful about them; they just are after so many years of observing them.
Christmas movies are a staple through December, watching as a family with the young ones. Decorating our home is again a family tradition. Children are enlisted to help put window decorations up while Dad puts a few lights on the house. Our feeling on outside decorations is that we need not make the most lavish display around, but that we do need to participate in the neighborhood decoration. It adds to the enjoyment of all, friends and neighbors, acquaintances and strangers, as the magic of Christmas blooms everywhere.
Santa Claus plays a part in our Christmas; we find no harm in the idea of Santa Claus and feel that it adds to the magic and wonder of Christmas for the children. For us, Santa fills the stockings put up Christmas Eve, drinks the milk and eats the cookies left for him. He leaves many of the gifts that magically appear late Christmas eve, long after the children are in bed.
Other gifts come from Mom and Dad, brother and sister, but Santa always brings some too. Christmas eve is always a time of family, singing carols, hanging stockings and remembering past years Christmas's. Cooking begins for Christmas day, with children helping to make cookies and candies - that evening or the next day they get to offer everyone some of their own work. This article is getting a little long, but mention must be made of the children, the little ones in our lives. While adults can enjoy this time of year it is truly a time of magic and wonder for children.
Beginning with Santa Claus Christmas comes alive to children. Everywhere they look they see signs of Christmas. The wait is interminable, but also adds to the experience as we talk about Christmas, watch the movies and take them to find gifts. Yes, when Christmas morning finally comes and they find gifts left by Santa and finally get to open all these neat things is the culmination of that waiting, but the entire season can and does bring wonder and magic into their lives. It can become a period of extra time with Mom and Dad never a bad thing!
While not always easy the season is also one of extra duties, work and often stress that extra time and love we lavish on our children is important to their understanding and enjoyment of Christmas. While Christmas is a season for everyone to enjoy, there are also times of the season that we dedicate to our children. Christmas morning opening gifts is one such period and continues through the morning playing with the new toys.
Taking our children Christmas shopping, seeing Santa in the stores or parade, taking the extra time to help our children "help" us prepare for the holidays - these are all things that make Christmas so magical to our kids. The True Meaning of Christmas. It is many meanings to us. It means sharing of ourselves with others. It means giving to others that need our help. It means reviving the old traditions that we have formed over the years and remembering our past. It means promoting and participating in the magic and wonder that children find in Christmas. It is a time of love and generosity.
Most of all, though, our Christmas tradition is that Christmas is a time of family. Without family Christmas would be a pale shadow of what it is. There have been years when our extended family was not available to share with, leaving just the two of us, and it just wasn't the same. Christmas means family to us. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. There's so many people out there that doesn't know the meaning of Christmas they think it's about toys they need to read the Bible and I would like to say divided we fall together we stand and it's falling quickly just look around think about it for a while until you understand what I'm saying.
Thank you Glimmer - the story of the little girl is something everyone likes and I'm glad I was able to share that bit of my past. I'm glad this was shared. This is a beautiful hub and the story of the little girl thanking you was touching.
It reminds us all of the reasons for this season. This is such a touching article. I can feel how precious the spirit of Christmas is to you and your family and it's beautiful to read about those little figures your wife made for the tree all those years ago. It's in that sort of thing that Christmas is special isn't it?
The way those Christmas objects made with love get pulled out year after year, full of memories of all the years and the trees and now shared with the growing family - who hear about how it was in the beginning when they were made. It is a cast in stone rule at our home that decorations don't go up until after Thanksgiving, mostly in response to that creeping commercialism.
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While we will buy gifts throughout the year especially at after Christmas sales , the season doesn't start here until long after the stores are playing Christmas music. Eiddwen - yes, the season is hard on us as I write this. Christmas music is playing in our home, the tree is up, and the spirit infuses us more each day. It is a wonderful time of year at our home. Such a sweet hub. We're in an age where the commercial angle on this holiday can sometimes drown out the traditions and family aspects.
I feel that you've really conveyed the true meaning of Christmas here. While I won't generally approve links in the comment section, this fits all to well with my feelings on Christmas. Song about the importance of family and the holidays. Yes, I enjoy getting gifts, something I wouldn't buy for myself but someone though I would enjoy, but overall I will leave the "getting" to children, and especially small children. The rewards for giving are SO much more than for getting.
The joy of receiving a nice gift fades in a short time, but the wonderful feeling of helping out, giving a hand to someone in need gives memories that last a lifetime. To Love is to place one's happiness in the happiness of another. The spirit of Christmas. Just as much importance should be placed on giving, if not more, than receiving. That is the true meaning of Christmas. Thank you for sharing a very traditional hub post on Christmas. Sometimes, through time we lose essence of the true meaning of giving.
We get caught up in the, "What did I get for Christmas" marathon. There are too many folks running that road. Its great to get back to the basics. Thanks for sharing your insight. And, of course, spread the cheer with happiness, decorations and music. Nat Amaral: That particular bit of Christmas memory always makes me pause for just a moment whenever I think about it. It has become a moment, frozen in time and not to be forgotten. This was such a sweet hub! The pictures were adorable. The part with the girl wearing the pigtails hugging you almost brought tears to my eyes.
A very touching piece. That is really beautiful, it makes me want to cry. I know how people say why do we have to wait until Christmas to help those in need, but I think a better way to look at it, is that Christmas is the time to ramp up what you have already been doing and give a little bit more. Just like competing in a big meet, you give it your all!
Great hub! Wow i got some good idea from this hub its really a nice hub i decide to celebrate Christmas with new style in this year. I come home from work and find I've made hub of the day and gotten a seemingly endless of comments on it. There is no way I can answer you all individually, so let me just say "Thanks" to all of you that have left me these kind comments.
A few special thoughts, though; many have said the story of the little girl is special, which gladdens me. That memory from years ago will remain with me forever - it was truly a very special Christmas moment. DzyMsLizzy - that's so neat that you have the same ceramic molds. Those ornaments have been with us for many decades now and are very special to us. The grandkids always help us decorate the tree and insist that they hang their own ornaments. Jennifer - we, too, have some ornaments received as gifts and it always brings memories of those that gave them to us.
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Some have left us, some live far away and some are close, but the memories live on. Mary - yes, we still hang some ornaments that our now grown children made themselves as small children. They don't fit very well with beautiful balls or even the ceramic ornaments my wife made for each of us, but they have their own meaning and memories as well. The "rotten egg pie" is hardly that - as a small child I asked what was in it, and "raw" eggs came through as "rotten eggs". It has been "rotten egg pie" to my siblings and I for over 50 years now.
Once more, a thank you to all who have enjoyed this hub. Your thoughts will brighten this Christmas for me.
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May you all have a very merry Christmas with your own family and friends. I've always loved Christmas, and the family traditions plus the giving together is what makes such great memories. You said it well. Our Xmas's used to be fun as kids except for certain horrible clothing gifts that I would never been seen in Now we go to an Uncles house. He cooks the turkey, Mum makes a pavlova, fruit salad or we get fresh berries like strawberries, raspberries and boysenberries or similar.
We pick the berries on Xmas day and have a late afternoon or evening meal. My daughter is the only child who 'want' pressies Congrats on Hub of the day! Your story made me reflect on the ornaments hanging on the tree.
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I've received so many of them as gifts and each year they remind me of the people and years gone by. Voted up! Congratulations on hub of the day It is a time for children and it is so much fun this year to see my eighteen month old grandbaby and his brother who is almost 17 celebrate together. He stands by his brother by the tree and says I enjoyed reading your traditions as well We, too, celebrate a secular holiday, going back to its pre-Christian roots, but we do love to decorate, and have lighted and animated things galore.
You can't even use the restroom without running into decorations! I loved your photos.. What fun! As for 'tradition for its own sake,' You are really a religious and a spiritual person. I like the way you expressed the importance of Christmas in our lives. Even though I am not a christian but I love Christmas. Merry Christmas to you and your family in advance. This Hub was truly deserved to be Hub of the Day! As a Mother, Grandmother and I have a Great , it truly is a time for the children.