I have loved holidays and traditions for as long as I can remember.
As a newlywed, the opportunity to establish traditions and create celebrations in my own home was thrilling to me.
I remember buying our first Christmas tree, coordinating the tree skirt, ornaments and stockings, arguing a bit with my husband over colored versus white Christmas lights and I remember the first time I found a real advent calendar.
My parents had bought my brother and I a new advent calendar every year growing up. You know, the little cardboard ones with a small chocolate behind every perforated, pop-out window.
While I was giddy with the excitement of counting down days, my older brother, in true Grinchy fashion, couldn’t care less. He would skip a few days or gorge on a few days worth of chocolate whenever it fancied him. Brothers. I was horrified.
Years later, now a bride with a home of my own, I discovered the wood-crafted advent calendars. The ones with little drawers that pull out or cupboards that open and I bought one without hesitation. I was thrilled at the idea of placing chocolates in it every day for my husband to enjoy.
Oh, how we would love counting down the days together each year! You can see where this is going right? He esteems advent calendars about as much as my brother did growing up. Save up a few days, eat a handful of candy, repeat.
And so I waited, only slightly begrudgingly, for children to pour out my holiday traditions upon.
I was pleased when they were finally old enough for advent calendars and Christmas stockings. It was so much fun to introduce them to Rudolph and Frosty, to drink cocoa in Christmas pajamas and enjoy my favorite Christmas books and movies with them. We got photos on Santa’s lap and tickets to the Nutcracker. I thoroughly enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas. Truly, I didn’t want my kids to miss a minute of it.
Until one day I was sitting in my living room, looking around at the trimmings and trappings of my house and I stopped. I wondered how it might reflect the True Beauty of Christmas.
What, in all of it, displayed the One reason we even celebrate Christmas? In this fertile soil of home, I am trying my best to raise happy and healthy children. Children who are, most importantly, rooted in a faith that points them directly toward their Savior.
How had I gotten so caught up in showing my kids Christmas that I forgot to ensure that I was showing them, Christ?
It’s amazing how quickly this can happen. How easily we get distracted by our own well-intended traditions and sentiments. We can completely lose sight of the real reason we celebrate. That day I resolved to make some changes. I didn’t haul out the tree and donate the Christmas movies.
I didn’t ban Santa or outlaw Rudolph or toss the advent calendar even. But I did seek to intentionally incorporate the true meaning of Christmas into our home, to restore Christmas to its proper place and let our home and traditions better reflect the birth of our Savior. It’s a great place to start and a good topic to revisit each and every holiday season.
As you begin to plan for and celebrate the holidays with your family here are three tips to intentionally remembering the reason we celebrate.
1. Start the conversation.
Just talking about what Christmas means in your home is a great place to start. Start the conversation and keep talking.
Talk with your kids about what you could do to show the love of Christ as a family this year. Click To Tweet
Discuss what it might have felt like to be Mary, a shepherd, or a wise man all of those years ago. Read the accounts in the Bible and ponder each verse individually.
2. Set your heart.
Where we park our hearts and our minds are critical. Ensure this holiday season that you are setting your mind on things above. Begin to ask yourself how each and every way your family celebrates might point back to Christ. Simply being aware will provide you with opportunities to make small adjustments.
3. Model it.
Our families see what matters to us. So do our spouses, our friends, and our neighbors. My children see me doing advent devotions or scurrying them along to various events. Our friends see us stressing out over gifts and finances or taking time to really enjoy the beauty of the season.
Christmas is a wonderful time to let our lives speak joy and hope to a lost world. In order to do so, we must make sure that our lives model it.
This year, as we find ourselves at the helm of this holiday season, I encourage you to step back and look at the bigger picture of your home and holiday traditions. Borrowing a line from the Jesus Storybook Bible, we must desire that everything we do whispers His name.
I want the heart of my holiday happenings to point back to the One reason I celebrate and I wish the same for you as well.
Oh, what a wonderful reminder, Katie, to intentionally make much of Jesus with our festivities and celebrations this year! Thank you for sharing your own life as an example of how easy it is to get caught up in all of the traditions and trimmings. We really appreciate your message and your exhortation to let everything we do this year “whisper His name.”
To catch up with Katie, you can stop by her website by clicking HERE.
She enjoys living in the countryside of Washington State, homeschooling her 4 young kids, spending time with friends and family. Also, she loves writing about her passion for living every day bravely.
You can find her working this out at I Choose Brave.
**And, would you do me a favor — if this article has encouraged you today — would you share it with someone else?
© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.