Saturday, December 10, 2011

Amish Values (Celebrating Christmas)

A reoccurring theme in Amish Values is the appreciation for and joy in experiences that the rest of American culture would view as fairly trivial.  Camping vacations, caring for animals, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation.  As you read in Ms. Fisher’s book, those are the things that make memories in a family, not wasting time on Facebook or spending oodles of money for a fancy hotel on a trip. 

After reading Amish Values, it occurred to me that modern American culture is so focused on the things of man, i.e., celebrating the works of human being.  In contrast, Amish culture is “simpler” because it rejects these things so as to not be distracted from the gifts of God and his splendorous creation.  I really admire that approach.

Fairly early in the book, there are several chapters that seem particularly apropos at this time of year.  They involve Christmas time anecdotes. 

One describes the celebrations of one family who live on a small farm.  On Christmas day, they get up early to care for the animals like any other day throughout the year.  Then they have a special breakfast.  Then they read the Christmas story from the Bible.  Then they open gifts.  But they are mostly homemade gifts—like yummy baked goods or a new piece of clothing.  And perhaps there are a few other gifts with a practical or beneficial use like a pocketknife, stationery or books.  The family then does something together like go ice skating on a pond with second hand ice skates that may not even fit too well.  They end the day with some of the daily chores that cannot be neglected.  At the end of the chapter, Ms. Fisher explained that the family declared it the “best Christmas we ever had” though most modern Americans would turn up their noses at how unglamorous and perhaps even boring it was. 

Another chapter in the book involves a Christmas tradition of bird watching.  Again, how many modern Americans spend their Christmas day outside marveling at God’s creatures?  Most of us are inside watching football, listening to our iPods or playing video games.  Again, even on such a holy day, we focus on the things of man, not the things of God.

Isaiah 37:19

Common English Bible (CEB)

The Assyrians burned the gods of those nations with fire because they aren’t real gods. They are only man-made creations of wood and stone. That’s how the Assyrians could destroy them.

Psalm 104:24

Common English Bible (CEB)

LORD, you have done so many things!
You made them all so wisely!
The earth is full of your creations!

No comments:

Post a Comment