One of the best parts about Christmas is that my mom and dad always made it super special. They made memories with us and those memories lasted. Each year, after Thanksgiving we picked out and cut down our tree. I always thought they were the prettiest trees ever, well except for the year that the tree was bug infested. That was a pretty gross year. Then, my dad spent a long time playing the Christmas tree engineer with fishing line and cardboard trying to get our tree to look right, ‘cause real trees won’t ever stand straight. We strung popcorn and cranberries for the tree. Sometimes we got enough for the whole tree, but mostly just a few strands. I just remember eating a lot of popcorn and watching Christmas specials.
We decorated cookies together and ate them. We made a birthday cake for Jesus and sang to Him on Christmas day. We went Christmas caroling with friends. We picked out Christmas angels and bought presents for other kids. We sang at the nursing home some years. We lit our advent wreath in anticipation of Jesus’ birth and discussed and celebrated the themes of hope, peace, joy and love. Christmas morning my mom made an amazing breakfast casserole and monkey bread (which I’m pretty sure my dad ate about half of). We read the Christmas story and prayed together. They’re some of my favorite memories.
One of the most beautiful things about a home is its traditions, its planned familiar habits that people can count on. My parents were good at traditions that pointed to Jesus. We celebrated advent and sung songs together to remember and celebrate Jesus. We gave to others and we celebrated His birth on Christmas day before we did anything else. As Christians most of our traditions should point to Jesus, as His birth is the reason that Christmas exists. A tradition really is a wonderful way to point to God during the Christmas season for children and adults alike. Sometimes we think about tradition as simply for children, but the tradition of the celebration of advent has really helped me celebrate Jesus’ birth this season. In the Bible God tells us to remember His promises and His faithfulness and traditions that remind us of God’s goodness are beautiful ways to do so.
My parents also had traditions that made growing up in their home fun and safe and warm. I learned from my mom that one of the greatest privileges is creating and building memories with your family. Baking cookies may not seem to point to Jesus, but Jesus ate with people he loved. He loved and celebrated with His friends. When Jesus returns we will have feasts with great food and wine and gingerbread cookies. Jesus is the life of the party, and my parents showed me that Jesus deserves our joy and celebration by making Christmas time at our house fun. Our home was filled with lots of laughter, plenty of music, and bags and bags of chocolate chips. I think Jesus was pleased with that. He’s a God of abundant blessings and grace and He enjoys when we celebrate Him. I’m excited to begin to celebrate and create memories that point to Jesus with our own family.