On Saturday night I was sitting on the couch holding Abby and looking at our Christmas tree. I was remembering the message brought to the shepherds by the angels on that very first “Christmas” night (of course, I have to include this in the KJV. Thanks to Charlie Brown, it’s hard not to believe these were the exact words spoken by the angel, in English and everything.)
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
What triggered my thoughts about those angels and their message? We had just celebrated the Taylor family Christmas with Dan’s parents, brother and sister-in-law. In addition to their own gifts they had brought gifts from Dan’s grandparents. And every year Dan’s grandma makes each of her family members an ornament. A lot of the ones on our tree are angels, and those special ornaments had started my Christmas reminiscing.
In the background we had an “all-Christmas, all the time” radio station playing. And at that moment the song playing had nothing to do with shepherds, angels, or Baby Jesus. It was probably either a love song or something about Santa Claus. To me, right then, it just sounded like noise.
There is a remarkable difference between the deep and true story of Jesus birth, and special traditions that help us remember it, and the emptiness of Christless traditions.
A couple of years ago I became slightly obsessed with starting some Christmas traditions…meaningful traditions. I asked families in our church what they do, I asked Dan for ideas, I even searched online. And slowly we have started our own traditions.
We have our Christmas moose. There’s nothing especially Christmasy about him except that he promotes a lot of family fun and laughter.
We put up our tree and decorate as a family. And we take out the ornaments one-by-one and remember the story behind them. Most of our ornaments are those special one stitched by Dan’s grandma. I’ve also taken a page out of her book and combined it with an idea from my dad and cross-stitched an ornament each year to symbolize something significant that happened.
No, these traditions don’t directly tell the story of Jesus birth. However, the love and joy our family shares are only possible because He came. I’m still developing some even deeper traditions to instill Christmas truths in our kiddos.
One of the traditions I’d like to start is one that a friend does with her family. Each December she wraps up 25 children’s Christmas stories. Every night the kids pick out a book, unwrap it, and read it together.
I’d like to ask for input from some of you readers. I’m hoping that, in the next year, I’ll be able to start our own Christmas story collection. However, I want this tradition to be something that will instill honorable qualities and Christmas truths in our kiddos. Top-notch books with good pictures too. Any ideas?
And, just for fun, I’d love to hear what Christmas traditions you enjoy most or enjoyed as a child. Opening pajamas every Christmas eve? Swedish meatballs and
pickled herring Mom’s oreo ice cream dessert at Christmas dinner? What were and are some of your favorites?