Christmas week arrives with a buzz, you can feel it in the air. Advent traditions and celebrations have been building to this point and it’s here they all converge, meeting at the manger where the angels sing “Glory to God in the highest!”
It would be too easy to reach this point, exhausted from the month’s festivities, and let Christmas week take you for a ride. Or just as easy, you could find yourself slipping into the role of Advent drill sergeant, and hear yourself saying things like “we have to do this first and then that,… no it has to be here…what was that you were singing? Santa Claus indeed is not coming to town now you go over there and put that baby in that manger and be joyful!”
I think I’ve experienced both the “wheee!” and the “arg!!” of those. We get caught up in those things, becuase either way, we’re still focused on things. We need to remind ourselves that there are no specific commandments in the bible that tell us exactly how we’re supposed to celebrate the birth of God’s son, or even that we’re supposed to celebrate the birth of God’s son. I’m not saying there is something wrong with it, obviously, I think we naturally feel drawn to celebrate those things that bring us joy. But when we celebrate something like say, an anniversary… we don’t find ourselves obsessing over every little detail, or insisting on the exact same traditions, such as we do over Christmas holiday traditions. (To be fair, some of us have set-in-stone traditions we like to keep for other holidays, too.) The point is, if we’re going to celebrate and enjoy the gift of Jesus’ birth so long ago.. let’s celebrate and enjoy it, shall we?
With the arrival of Christmas week, we’ve also “arrived” down here at my mother’s house, where we’ll be celebrating Christmas with my side of the family. The fact that we are not home, that alone is “shaking things up” as we depart from the tradition of the last 5 yrs or so of having the family gather at our house Christmas morning for the present opening.
Another BIG departure from tradition – tradition that has been in place for AGES or at least for all of my 31 years… we’ll be opening gifts on Christmas EVE. This, from the mother who would not allow us to open any gifts before Christmas morning EVER. Not even one. But since some of our family have to get back on the road on Christmas Day we’ll be opening gifts and having Christmas Dinner the day before.
As we’ve packed to come down for this visit, there are many little things I have asked myself, trying to determine which traditions I want to try to keep and which ones I’m willing to put on hold for this year. I ultimately decided that there were two main traditions that I really didn’t want to give up. On Christmas morning I want to get up and put baby Jesus in the manger first off, and then I want to open our “3 Gifts of the Magi” with the kids and go through the nativity story in Luke. Apart from these two things, I’m willing and ready to shake things up a bit.
When it came down to it, I decided that the things that mattered most (as far as things and traditions go) were the two that helped us most to have a quiet moment together with our kids and God and thank him for the wonderful Gift of Jesus. After that, I want to simply ENJOY the other gifts God has given me. My family members.
My prayer for you this week is that wherever you are, whomever you are sharing the holiday with, whatever the weather, however many gifts are or aren’t under the tree, regardless of your place in life I pray this week would be filled with many blessings, with many fellowships with loved ones and friends, and with the love of Christ so abundantly that it would overflow to those around you.
Celebrate the son, give thanks unto the Lord, keep watch and look forward to “the day”… The King is Coming!
- Read this post by my friend Kristi, who shares how their “lack” of tradition is their only true Christmas tradition.