First, let me start by saying that I am no where near as festive as my sister, Karen. I’m pretty sure Christmas got the stomach virus and threw up all over her house. However, I do enjoy the Christmas season, especially family time. I’m slowly but surely learning to focus LESS on the stress of the holiday and MORE on the purpose of the season, which is to remember the birth of our perfect Savior, Jesus Christ.
I’m enjoying finding new ways to teach my girls the joy of Christ in Christmas. I have spent some time today organizing a list of things associated with Christmas to share with them, such as the story of the candy cane and why stars are used as tree toppers. I’m excited to show them the true meaning of the Christmas celebration. I don’t want them to grow up knowing nothing but the hype of Santa Claus, Rudolph and presents. Please take note, I am not putting you down if you and your family celebrate these things! I’m not saying it is wrong. I’m simply stating that there is so much more in the meaning and I want my girls to see that.
Last year, my daughters (now 4 and 2) and I sat and listened as my husband read us the Christmas story from Matthew 2 on Christmas morning. That was the start of a tradition that we will continue as they grow older. We also started the tradition of making a birthday cake for Jesus. We did this on Christmas Eve when we all gather at my sister’s to celebrate with my side of the family. We lit a candle on the cake and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus before we ate it.
A couple of years ago, my pastor/father-in-law suggested we take communion with our family on Christmas Eve that year. I enjoyed it, especially when my niece gagged as she tried to swallow her mom’s homemade unleavened bread, and her brother looked at the cup of grape juice and said in his most disgusted voice, “Is that real blood??”—all in the middle of communion. I couldn’t help but laugh, because I know God has a sense of humor.
The same year, my father-in-law surprised us. He had looked up the meaning to all of our names and read it to us, then prayed over each of us. It was really unique and special. We all shared a giggle as he announced the meaning of my husband’s name, “Markus- the Roman god of fertility.” I thought it was perfect. I would love to have a quiver full of arrows (Psalm 127:4-5). He found it ironic, since he’s fine with just our 2.
The final tradition isn’t anything special, but we always allow an early “gift” on Christmas Eve. That “gift” is a new pair of pajamas to be worn that night. The girls always look adorable, but they love to see what silly things Mom and Dad have to wear (this varies from Cookie Monster pj pants to Mr. Potato Head).
Whatever your do, however you choose to celebrate CHRISTmas, remember the true importance of it. JESUS. Don’t stress. Instead, breathe, relax, and enjoy the season. And don’t forget to share your family’s traditions with us!