mark and I have been traveling long distances, in cars, to spend time with family for eighteen years. driving is what we do, and we do it...a lot. there have been smooth trips and bumpy trips, fun trips and not so fun trips, but the one thing that remains the same is we continue to learn a lot about each other mile by mile together.
mark likes the music loud; I prefer it softer. mark likes to drive, and I do too :). mark packs the car, and I pack the suitcases. we both prefer to drive during the night and will drive further than our stomachs would want us to to eat at Chick-fil-a. but the most important thing we've learned along the highway is we have different expectations of the passenger...mark likes to talk while driving, and when I drive, I don't mind the silence.
when I'm driving, I try to encourage my passengers to do as they like. the boys read, play electronic games, watch videos, or sleep; mark will read, dose, but is mostly restless. and when mark's driving...he likes to talk...a lot!! and guess what? I'm not much of a talker! I'm happy to read magazines or knit as the passenger, so you can understand how this difference has caused many disagreements along the way.
last weekend as we started our long trip home from new york, I decided to step out and try something new. mark had just purchased the Advent Conspiracy the night before, so I suggested we read it on the way home. and boy am I thankful I did!I highly recommend this book! If you've ever thought "there's got to be more to Christmas than just shopping, shopping, and more shopping"...you're right! and this book proves it!
the focus of this book is spend less, give more, love all, worship fully.
Spend Less: "...as we choose to go against the cultural flow, it is important to remember that spending less on Christmas presents doesn't mean we love our friends and family any less. In fact, we will often find that those to whom we give creative, personal gifts will see our love- and perhaps God's-more clearly than ever before." p. 51
Give More: "If we can resist the trap of giving easy gifts, and if we can reject the assumption that giving expensive gifts or many gifts is the best way to express love, something else might begin to happen. We might experience moments of relational giving that our friends and family will care about and remember." p. 78
Love All: "The good news of the gospel is for all people, including us. We are all poor and blind and imprisoned. We are the ones who have been given this lavish gift of life with God, and now we are called to enter this broken world and love differently. When we do, Christmas can still change the world." p. 92
Worship Fully: "Like Joseph, when we act in obedience to God's invitation-despite even the social cost-we help God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven." p. 41
This concept really resonates with mark and I. we've been trying to practice this for a few years. from homemade caramel corn mix for special people in our lives (postman, bus drivers, and close friends) to the homemade personal ornaments mark makes each year, to a completely handmade Christmas a few years ago, we both fully value relational giving. and we not only give this way, but have been the recipients of so many wonderfully personal gifts! our goal now is to make this so consistent that the lesson is transferred to our boys.