A tradition is simply the transmission of beliefs from generation to generation. We have to be careful that we do not get caught in them and undermine the authority of our creator, but rather bring Him pleasure by remembering Him in all that we do. Such traditions that bring Him pleasure are saying grace before we eat or the taking of the Lords Supper. As we do this, we quote “…Do this to call me (affectionately) to remembrance.” I Cor. 11: 24 AMP
I am always amazed at the various types of family traditions that I hear about during Christmas time. I heard one of my co-workers, who is a grandmother, say that she started a tradition of making her grandchildren’s gifts so that they will always remember her and look forward to her gifts versus a store bought toy. Another co-worker began the tradition of creating the Polar Express for her children at home, with chairs set up in her play room as trains and making hot cocoa while reading the story aloud. Another family friend takes an annual trip to Branson as a family and actually experiences the Polar Express Railway!
I began to ponder my own family traditions, so last year my family and I created one of our own. We began Christmas morning by reading about the birth of Christ prior to opening any gifts. Well, let’s just say that it didn’t go too well that year! The kids were anxious, and scurried right out as soon as we finished reading the last verse. Being the smart mom that I am, I voted to revise it this year. The girls loved the 30 days of Thanks during the month of November, so much so that we just kept right on into the birth of Christ on December 1. So everyday in December we have begun to talk about the birth of Christ that leads up to the day we celebrate it! Only we added a bit of a twist to the telling of the story! We act out the story, as it would be told in “our time.”
You wonder how this can be done? It is actually pretty funny and it serves as a teachable moment for my little one. She plays a very huge baby Jesus, while my husband and I play Mary and Joseph. My middle child plays the angel and my oldest, since he is too cool for school, plays the narrator. Oh what fun we have in acting out the scenes as they would be today!
As my son reads, we begin our interpretation of the story. For instance, when the wise men are looking for the manger, following the star as their compass, we just text each other the directions to where baby Jesus is lying in the manger. Then instead of gold, frankincense and myrrh, we Instagram a picture of the wise men holding diamonds, gold, and a silver platter! It is a great bonding time, and we love the laughter we receive from rekindling our knowledge of our Savior. This saves time on Christmas morning and gives the children something to look forward to for dinner “table talk.” I actually love drama, theater, and musicals so this is the perfect family role-play that will serve our family for years to come.
God’s original design for family is one deeply rooted in love. I challenge you to initiate your own family traditions this year if you do not currently have any. They not only serve as bonding tools, but also can be interactive tools for cultivating virtues such as love, joy, and laughter, which is medicine for a dried up soul. It is something every kid from 1 to 92 can look forward to each year!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to your family from ours!