I was recently at a dinner with friends in which one of our conversation points was about the Christmas traditions we all grew up with. My wife and I shared about the popular Hispanic tradition of gathering with extended family on Christmas Eve and staying up till midnight to open up gifts. It was quite the challenge when we were kids, but oh so worth it! It got me thinking, we never really spent any time as a family talking about the true reason we celebrated Christmas -- our traditions were all about spending time with family, feasting together, and giving and receiving gifts, none of which are bad in and of themselves.
Now that we have a family of our own -- and now that we're followers of Christ -- we find it important to spend time talking with our own children about the importance of the birth of Christ. Sure, we've created our own new traditions as a family. For one, we don't stay up till midnight on Christmas Eve to open gifts. That's just way too exhausting! We go to bed at our normal bedtime every 24th of December, and then we wake up early on Christmas Day to open our gifts and enjoy French Toast as a family. That's right, French Toast is the new tradition we've set up for every Christmas morning (Hopefully this is something our kids will always remember). But more importantly -- before we even get to the gifts and the French Toast -- we first read through the birth narrative in the 2nd chapter of the gospel of Luke and spend some time thanking God for the greatest gift of all, our Savior. It's the one tradition that helps all of us center our hearts on Jesus.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 states, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (Emphasis mine).
Family Christmas traditions are beautiful, but the best ones are tools that point everyone in your household -- including your children and even your grandchildren -- to Jesus. This Christmas, what new tradition can you set up as a family that will help to impress Jesus on everyone's heart?