Ahhh… the Christmas season is in full swing. I love this time of year!
As I’ve become a mother, this season has become even more magical as I get to experience Christmas again through the eyes of a child. Their wonder and excitement spills over to me as I get to watch them delight in the decorations, the baking, the activities and all of the wonderful activities the season brings. While there are so many fun things to see, hear, enjoy and participate in this Christmas, we need to remember one thing… the MOST important Christmas tradition.
Traditions are so important for each family. They provide opportunities for you to be intentional with how you spend your time, they pass on values that you want to instill in your children, they make memories they carry on for ages, and they provide a sense of family belonging. Most traditions are unique to each family with some similarities sprinkled throughout. Most are traditions that we have carried on from our childhood while some are new traditions that we have started as a family.
Christmas traditions are among some of my favorite because they add to the beauty of the season and, as mentioned above, they create wonderful memories that I will cherish for years to come. Some of our beloved family traditions are:
- Waiting to decorate until after Thanksgiving
- Unwrapping a Christmas book every day as a countdown towards Advent
- Placing a dated photo ornament on the tree each year
- Going to candlelight service every Christmas Eve (It’ll be a miracle if I can get out of there without shedding a tear or two!)
- Opening Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve
- Eating warm cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning before opening presents
- Baking cookies to pass out to neighbors
- Having our family over for a simple meal on Christmas
The list could go on and on as there are so many special traditions that we do during this season, and while all of these traditions are important and cherished in our family, there is one tradition that is the most important of all…
Taking the time to reflect on the real Christmas story.
Teaching our children, and reflecting on it as adults, the story of Jesus’ birth and why we celebrate Christmas to begin with is an important part of our faith journey. While there are so many fun activities during the Advent season, I want everything to be able to point back to the birth of our Savior.
I love that we live in a day and time where there are so many resources, both in stores and online, that can help us as parents to teach our children about the birth of Jesus and the other important events that lead up to His arrival on earth.
A simple Google or Pinterest search can yield hundreds of Advent devotionals, resources, activities, printables, book lists and other resources to use with our children to help guide their hearts and set their focus on the greatest gift the season brings.
I love that I can simply jump into the Scriptures to teach about Jesus by reading aloud from the Gospels. The Gospel of Luke is my favorite re-telling this time of year and one of our family memory verses will be from Luke 2: 10-14:
And the angel sad to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manager.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Obviously with little ones, we will be breaking that verse up over the course of the month and while they might not be able to recite it verbatim, it is my prayer that it will be hidden in their little hearts as they begin to grasp the real meaning of Christmas.
Along with the readings from the New Testament, I love how the Old Testament points to the birth of Jesus as well. Primarily in Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace.
This year as my little ones are starting to get old enough to grasp the meaning, we will begin to put traditions of Scripture memory in place so they can work on memorizing the true Christmas story. I also plan to read the various Gospel accounts aloud to them during meal times, while they are playing, or simply while they are cuddling up next to me.
There are so many wonderful traditions that we can cherish as a family, but the most important tradition is is spending time learning about and reflecting on the birth of our Savior.