TRADITIONS help make this possible. Each family makes its own year-end traditions.
We did. Married two days before Christmas Day, we welcomed our fourth child and only son on our eleventh wedding anniversary. For fifty years Frank and I created Christmas traditions and then gave them up and let others take their place. Many of these, especially in the early decades, had a decided African flavor for that is where we raised our young family. Many of them, in later years, involved Asian ministry and our precious grandchildren.
Our traditions, like yours, were a mix of biblical and secular. Christmas stockings, trees, and parties may be echoes of the celebrations at the Savior’s arrival. Gift exchanges and decorations may be too. Even music and drama give themselves to telling the original Christmas story, though they only faintly reflect the heavenly music and dramatic events that surrounded the Messiah’s arrival.
So my question for you is this: What are the Christmas traditions on which you spend your family’s time and energy? How many enable you to explore again the wonder of Christmas?
For some of us, the two most common traditions are lighting advent candles and making room for a crèche. Both are solid props that we can lean on as we struggle to celebrate the Baby Jesus’ birthday this year, ever grateful as we remember the purpose for His coming into this weary, dark world.
My challenge to you is to be sure that each of these traditions is so orchestrated that you clearly invite the children around you to enter into the Story…to see that the events of the various accounts from Scripture and human creativity are meant to lead us to humble ourselves as did shepherds and Magi and worship Him, the King of Kings.
Have you thought of inviting your children to help pick out the Scripture passages, songs and poetry that go with lighting the candles? Do you spend time discussing with them each piece in the crèche and what or who it represents?
Finally, have you considered displaying a visual of the cross among your Christmas decorations? For had Baby Jesus not grown up to die, His arms out-stretched, welcoming each of us, we would not today even give His birth another thought. It would be hidden in obscurity, the wonder of it completely unnoticed.
Still the Baby came!
Deity in a dingy cave
Scrubby sheep wandering
Straw dust settling
~~ and a STAR
whose radiance burst forth again
when the rock rolled back. NHT
NOTE: Our next entry will focus on practical ideas for activities that help us explore the wonder of Christmas. We invite you to share some of yours.