Boy, have I been busy lately. But of course, so has pretty much everyone. Because it’s Christmas. Presents to buy, presents to wrap, Christmas Carols services to organize (yes, I did do this), homes to decorate, gingerbread houses to put together, children’s excitement to manage…. Even as I write, two of my children, probably hyped up on sugary drinks at the special dinner we had tonight, are walking around speaking in a purposely annoying nonsense language.
But it’s all worth it. Because it’s Christmas, you know. Sure, I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, and it doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. But for and my household, it’s all wrapped up in the birth of Jesus. Not the actual day, probably, but as good a day as any to celebrate all that it means. Hope. Salvation. God with us.
I asked my children recently what their favorite parts of Christmas are. My oldest (12) listed a bunch of things, but at the start she mentioned all the things we do together in the missions community that we are part of. My middle daughter (10) mentioned the food. My youngest daughter (8) loves the decorations. But really they all love all of it.
One funny little highlight of our Christmas for the last couple of years have been these little guys…
They are little toys that my sister-in-law and her husband mailed to us from Holland for Sinterklaas last year. Sinterklaas? That’s a Dutch holiday, with some similarities to Christmas in terms of traditions, that is held on December 5th. I don’t know what the relevance of these little orange fluffballs are, but I think they are just little toy / decorations that were just readily available at that time of year, and which my relatives just sent over with some other gifts.
But when they entered my home, they became…the Martian Kings. You know, because they look like aliens. And they have crowns.
(I’ve just noticed that the Martian Kings is also the name of a band somewhere, but that’s not what this post is about).
The Martian King came for Sinterklaas and they stayed for Christmas, regularly moving around the house, showing up wherever one of us thought they’d be funny to see.
We decided to pack them up with the rest of the Christmas decorations last year, so they have made a surprise (I had forgotten about them in the meantime) return visit this year, joining in with the shepherds, the angel, the camels and all the rest of it amongst our otherwise largely-religiously-themed Christmas decorations. They’ve even entered into the story, as far as my imaginative youngest daughter is concerned, coming to see the baby Jesus some time after the wise men.
I don’t think two years is enough to qualify as a tradition yet, but it looks like the Martian Kings may be well on their way toward becoming one in our household.
It’s late on Christmas Eve as I write this, and we are fast approaching the big day. I hope and trust that you all enjoy the day, with whatever mix of the traditional and the unique that you enjoy.