We began very early with our girls to establish some Christmas traditions. There were things we did every year as a family. Sunday nights in December, we would leave early for church and look at Christmas lights and take a different route home and look at some more. Decorating the Christmas tree was a “family affair” when the girls were all home, and I always tried to put some Christmas in their rooms – lights, small tree, stocking. Almost every Christmas when the girls were young, my parents joined us, and we had some fun times baking, shopping and eating out together. One evening during their Christmas vacation was designated as the night to watch It’s a Wonderful Life as a family. We all enjoyed the service on Christmas Eve or the night closest to it at the church. The girls always participated in that service even to this day. Every Christmas Eve we went to a live nativity scene, and in the cold weather of Ohio, we would stand bundled up watching the people and animals and contemplate the Christmas story. Now, we eat Chinese food on Christmas Eve and watch a Christmas movie together. On Christmas morning, we open gifts one at a time, and thank the person who gave us the gift, eye-to-eye.
Since our children were very small, we have read aloud the Christmas story from the Scriptures every Christmas morning. From the time the girls learned to read, they each got excited the first year they could participate by taking their turn reading. The story is read and any questions answered, followed by a time of prayer before the first gift is opened. Some years it was just the five of us; some years grandparents joined us; and now our family continues to grow with grandchildren. Many years have come and gone, and many gifts have been forgotten; but if you ask our girls about our traditions, they will name this one as being particularly special.
Who cannot be moved by the simple Christmas story? Don’t get too busy with your Christmas activities and traditions and forget the real meaning of Christmas. May you truly have Christmas in your heart this year!
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6