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It is a good thing to take a look at your Christmas traditions each year and re-evaluate how you are celebrating the birth of Jesus. There is so much pressure from our culture to include things that have nothing to do with our Savior so that we get buried under piles of wrapping paper!
I have loved making Christmas traditions over the years with my family. As is true with most of us, I re-evaluated which traditions I would include from when I was growing up.
Some of the traditions that I grew up with were fun but didn’t focus on Jesus. I wanted Him to be central in everything as much as possible.
Because of that, I have thought through EVERYTHING IMAGINABLE until I found what worked for our family.
There were songs that I loved as a child that talked about Santa coming in his sleigh with all his cute reindeer. Then there was my favorite where I sang about mommy kissing Santa Clause. You probably know some of those songs.
BUT . . .
Traditions that Point to Jesus at Christmas
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. Luke 2:15-20
The problem is that Christmas is supposed to point us to our Lord and Savior.
My question is, are my traditions doing that?
Are my traditions helping me to reach out to others for Christ’s sake?
There is so much sentimentality surrounding Christmas that it can be hard to give up a loved tradition. That is why I am suggesting that you make new ones!
You can’t just take away something fun from your children (or from yourself for that matter). If you take something away, it needs to be replaced with something better!
Before our children were ever born, we had removed the Santa related songs in our festivities. I even got rid of any decorations and tree ornaments of Santa. Some of them were difficult to get rid of since they held sentimental value. Doing what is right is not always the easy way!
As far as Santa goes, I had no problem getting rid of him. He has become such a huge part of Christmas that many children are clueless about the story of baby Jesus. This is so sad!
What better reason to make Jesus central to Christmas than to be a testimony in your neighborhood?
Making New Christmas Traditions
So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7
If your Christmas traditions are not pointing to Christ – Make new ones!
When two people get married, family traditions change as there is a meshing between both the husband and wife’s experiences growing up.
It isn’t too often that our children grow up and do things exactly the same. You probably can say the same about how you do things at your house. You took the best from both you and your husband.
Every Christmas growing up, my Dad read Luke 2:1-14 before we opened Christmas presents on Christmas Eve. In my husband’s home, they did the same except presents were opened on Christmas Day!
I didn’t like that he decided to open our gifts on Christmas Day but you know what? I got to LOVE it!
One thing that my mother never did was bake Christmas cookies. They say that you do things to the opposite extreme and I baked cookies for days with my kids. We would bake over 1000 cookies and gave most of them to businesses, neighbors, and friends.
Many times, there were tears in the eyes of those we gifted cookies.
One amazing idea to shake up your Christmas traditions would be to read the Christmas Story outside in the cold. I read about one family who did that in their barn and brought the chickens, goats, and lamas into the stall where they read.
Why did I never think of this? We had a rabbitry and could have done something similar in our rabbit barn.
Doing something like that would remind you of the humility and turmoil our Lord experienced on his first day on earth.
Brainstorm New Christmas Traditions
It’s not good enough to just talk about re-evaluating and making new Christmas traditions without coming up with some new ideas.
Let’s be intentional during this Christmas season and brainstorm some new traditions. Below is a list of ideas to get you started by making your own list. Teach your kids about the Bible verses to help make it a more meaningful experience for them!
- Make paper snowflakes with your children! (Psalm 51:1)
- Make red-and-green construction paper chains with your kids! Remind your kids that red is for the blood of Jesus and green is for reading your Bible and growing. (Isaiah 1:18)
- Have at least one manger scene! (Luke 1:1-14)
- Hide the wise men in a different location each night and have your kids find them in the morning! (Matthew 2:13-20)
- Make construction paper cut-out hearts with your kids and decorate! Or make them out of salt-dough and paint them to hang on the tree. (Psalm 51:10))
- Make construction paper cut-out stars to decorate or hang on the tree! (Matthew 2:2)
- Bake cookies to gift to businesses you frequent, shut-ins, nursing home residents, relatives, neighbors, and friends! (Luke 6:38)
- Light the Advent candles each day in a wreath centerpiece on your table! (Isaiah 40:9-11)
- Read the Christmas Story to your kids BEFORE Christmas Day (you can read it then too) in an unusual spot to get the attention of your wiggly kids! (Luke 2:1-14)
- Teach your kids to give gifts and NOT just receive! (Acts 20:35) Give them $20 and help them shop for their Dad and siblings at the Dollar Tree where everything is really $1!!
What are some traditions you will be making with your kids this year?
Maybe your kids are grown and you can’t turn back the clock. You might be able to do some of these things with your grandkids.
If you have no kids in your life or they live a long way away, what will you be doing this year to keep Christ in Christmas? It is easy to slip backward when your kids grow up. I challenge you to intentionally keep traditions that honor Jesus at Christmas.