No, I don’t have anything against snow. In all honesty, I probably haven’t seen enough snow in my life to have any issues with it. Growing up here in North Texas, we didn’t have many White Christmases. In fact, I think I’ve had more White Valentine’s days! No… For me, a Green Christmas isn’t about the weather. It’s more about the spirit and practice of the season.
To me, a Green Christmas is one filled with the “green” spirit both materially and spiritually. Usually, the idea of living “green” refers to living your daily life in a way that helps support, maintain, or nurture the environment. But this time of year, the color green takes on a deeper spiritual meaning as we begin to see evergreens begin to emerge in tree, wreath, and garland form to decorate everything from living rooms to doors to windows to the occasional car.
Green has always been a symbol of life. Looking at nature, it’s easy to see why. It’s the green chlorophyll that enables a plant to transform sunlight into food. (Remember photosynthesis from Middle School science?) The Church has drawn inspiration from nature since its inception. In this case, you can see a bit of that inspiration in our liturgical calendar. During Ordinary Time, the altar and vestments are adorned in green to remind us that this is a time for spiritual growth. In a similar way, living “green” is a lifestyle that supports and nurtures all living things. So, it’s only natural that the green we see during the Christmas season would call to mind thoughts of life and growth, especially during the depths of winter. But as the Christmas season surrounds us in an abundance of evergreens, the life we are called to focus on is eternal life obtained for us through Christ’s death and Resurrection.
How can you “green up” your Christmas season? In keeping with the theme of nurturing life, you could approach it many ways. To give you some ideas, here are three areas that you could focus on to nurture life during the Christmas season: Our Home, Our Brethren and Ourselves.
- Focus on finding new ways to wrap your gifts that are gentler on the earth. Use recycled wrapping paper or, better yet, use gift bags that can be reused season to season. Consider wrapping your gifts in fabric scraps that can then be used for other things. Better yet, think of gifts that really don’t require wrapping-towels, blankets, or scarves need only a ribbon and a tag.
- Seek out local sources for your Christmas gifts. By purchasing products that don’t have to be shipped, you not only reduce the emissions resulting from cross-country shipping, you also help support businesses in your community. Read about the benefits of buying local here.
- Purchase Free Trade items from CRS (Catholic Relief Services) for Christmas gifts. Your purchase will help others to rise out of poverty with dignity.
- Begin to seek out ways to promote Pro-Life causes. Check out Priests for Life or American Life League for ideas and information.
- Focus on your own spiritual growth this season. Find ways to learn more about your faith or to increase the quality or quantity of your prayer time. Both Advent and the Year of Faith are great times to learn and pray.
- Reject the temptation of the magazine cover Christmas. Ask yourself what is the one thing (besides Mass) that I must have to make it feel like Christmas? Ask your family. Then, only do those things. Removing mental clutter during the season will help you focus on what’s most important. Here’s a link by the First Baptist Church of Jefferson City, Missouri that has some helpful tips and perspective on simplifying Christmas. Note: This is not an endorsement of the above site. Just thought you’d like it.
So, this season when I dream of a “Green” Christmas, I’ll be dreaming of life on earth and in heaven. Won’t you dream with me?
Many blessings for a “Green” Christmas!
Copyright 2012 Laura B. Nelson