Christmas is almost here—that special holiday with its own music and a host of unique customs. I have great memories of the Christmas celebrations of my youth. On Christmas Eve, after an early dinner, my three brothers, my sister, Mom, Dad, and I would pile into the station wagon and go caroling at the homes of the pastor, needy folks from church, and other relatives and friends. Along the way, we would sample a variety of baked goodies and other treats at each house.
When we returned, the kids were allowed to open one present each if we wanted (which we always did). Then we would read the Christmas story from Luke and hustle off to bed. Of course I was usually too excited to fall asleep. Then, before dawn, I would get up, tiptoe down the stairs to peek at the presents and then awaken Mom and Dad. Eventually we would gather around the living room as Dad distributed the presents.
Family traditions are important—they bring families together and provide opportunities for warmth, love, and teaching. And the holidays are ideal for establishing traditions. If you don’t have family traditions, let me encourage you to begin some this Christmas. And tie these traditions to your faith—let them be living lessons on the real meaning of the season. Here are some possibilities:
- Choose a project to work on together, like helping a needy family or inviting a widow from church over for Christmas dinner.
- Begin a prayer list as you become aware of special needs. Add to the list and pray through it every day from now until New Year’s.
- Memorize the Christmas story; write a Christmas poem.
- Design together a special family Christmas card that you can print and send to your friends.
- Have a Christmas Eve dinner where each family member makes one of the dishes.
Jim Green offers another suggestion. Each year his family poses for a crazy family photo. Once they dressed as old-time cowboys; another year they were Santa and his helpers; and one Christmas they dressed as a football team. These pictures are hung on a wall in their home—constant reminders of the love that they share.
Whatever you decide, have a blessed and memorable Christmas.