I absolutely love this time of year … from December 1st to January 1st , it’s a time of wonder and beauty, gift-giving, resolution-making, cookie-baking … and traditions. Traditions have always meant something dear to me, although I haven’t really realized it until these past few years, when I’ve begun to relish them with purpose and great delight. Though we may not have as many traditions as some families, the traditions that we do have, whisper comfort and peace to my heart.
Traditions are a way of binding us together as a family. However different we may be throughout the days and weeks of the rest of the year, at this time of year, we all recognize together the same rituals and routines that are dear and specific to our family alone. Yes, other people may decorate trees and have sweet breads on Christmas morning – but do they have our crocheted snowflakes and cleaning lady and rose-painted baubles to go on the tree? Do they have our cranberry bread and stollen and crepes for breakfast? There is comfort in the knowledge that whatever else may change, these habits of ours will always stay the same – and they will always signify Christmas to us.
When I have a family someday, there are many traditions that I hope to implement in our household – for all the holidays, but especially for Christmas. I have many grand ideas, but a few I want to carry over from my own growing up years … to instill the idea of a tradition that lasts throughout generations – continuing that bond and security that belongs to us alone as a family. Also, there are some things that I can’t imagine Christmas without! So I must carry them on for my own children – to keep that sense of who I am, and what shaped me as an individual growing up over the years.
How terribly sad it would be if Christmas was different every year! If you had nothing to mark it by and know that just by your very acts, you’re helping Christmas to come closer. It’s almost how I felt when we lived in Bakersfield, and we had no snow for Christmas. No snow on Christmas! You might as well have thrown out the Christmas tree as well … it’s hard to believe in the magic of Christmas without these remembrances celebrated every year.
Maybe what I love best about Christmas is that Christmas itself is a tradition – a beautiful reminder once a year of God’s most precious gift to us – a baby come to earth to live a life to one day die for my sins and bring me to Him. Without that awesome knowledge, all the other things we do to celebrate this season lose their meaning and their joy. When He is the center of all our festivities and celebrating, Christmas becomes what it was meant to be – a beautiful tradition from God to remember His gift to us.
So whether we’re eating candy night by night from our candy hangers, hearing the Christmas story read by our father while sipping hot chocolate, opening presents one at a time, youngest to oldest, or playing games all Christmas day with the family – these Christmas traditions speak God’s love to my heart. It’s a time when all the decorating and baking and singing and dressing up has a meaning far deeper and more significant than we sometimes pause to realize. It’s all for the baby boy born so long ago … born to be our Savior and King. Let us never forget that gift of life or the love that gave it to us.
Merry Christmas Everyone!