Family – A Christmas Tradition
I love Christmas! Ok, you’re probably thinking, “Duh! Doesn’t everybody?” True, but it still is worth saying. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something magical about this time of year. Maybe it’s the crisp air, sudden generosity of the masses, or cheery decorations. Or maybe it’s a combination of all those things and more. For me, what I would have to say I love most is family! “What?! It’s not the gifts, decorations, or sales?!” Nope. Family, definitely. The more I think about it, the more I realize that all the things I love about Christmas I love because of family. There are too many traditions to be explained, but let’s look at a few of them:
Christmas starts right after Thanksgiving. It’s probably a good thing, because I don’t feel as guilty downing dozens of cookies over the course of the season after having already stuffed myself with the turkey. One of the first things we do is get our tree and start decorating. We go pick out a tree, let it fall, set it up, and don it with lights, garland, and ornaments (each of which have a story in and of their own). This is Jason and my first Christmas being married, and we have had an interesting experience with out tree! I am a real tree person. Jason is an advocate for fake trees. I was going to compromise and get fake until we had kids but Jason surprised me by taking me to pick out a real one. Imagine now a six foot tree sticking out the trunk of a clown car.. that was practically us! So we get the stand and put the tree up in our bay window to let it fall, get an air popper, and start making “poor man’s” garland out of popcorn and cranberries.
To our surprise, I noticed the tree was tilting at a 20 degree angle after just 2 days! So we get a drill bit, make the hole deeper and get it more secure on the stand. A few days later, after the lights and garland were up, one of the strands of lights went out. Could we find a broken bulb? Nope! We tried replacing the fuse but ended up breaking that in the process. So off to WalMart we went to find that they had sold out of white lights. Thankfully Jason happened upon the last, very expensive, set of white lights the following day. After probably a week we finally could decorate our tree, and not without an argument. But all in all, we pushed through and now have a beautiful topless tree! As horrific as that all may sound, it makes for a wonderful story that will go on being told for generations I’m sure. This year will hopefully not be like our typical tree experience, but I still loved every minute of it (minus the argument) because we were doing it together!
The next thing I love about Christmas is the cookies! My mom and I have been making the same 5 tried-and-true cookies for years! (Chocolate chip – but usually with different chips – cookies, Snickerdoodles, Molasses Crinkles, Peanut Butter Blossoms, and “Great Grandma’s Molasses”). Something I’ve noticed this year is how different families have such vastly different cookie traditions than ours, but I still love it! Jason and I have added one cookie to the mix – Peppermint Blossoms (like the peanut butter but sugar instead with Peppermint Kisses). Another thing I’ve noticed is how terribly I miss making those cookies with my mom. For those of you not yet in full-time ministry, beware that if you are close with your family it will be harder than you think at Christmas time! We’ve decided to make them at Chestnut Hill Bakery (which my parents own) at midnight this year so we can still make them together. Talk about adventure! Yet again, you’ll notice that the underlying theme of why I love this tradition, other than the yummy goodness, is because of the time spent with family!
I’ll leave you with one last example. Since I have three older brothers who have been out of the house since I was in middle school, we do Christmas a little differently. Up until this year, my parents and I would uphold the traditions from when my brothers and I were kids just among the three of us. The real Christmas came the day after Christmas. At around 8 or 9, my entire family goes to my parents for breakfast – pancakes and waffles with real (light grade a) maple syrup, eggs, bacon (cooked always to perfection by my dad), sausage from Nahunta (once you’ve tasted North Carolina sausage you won’t go back!), and egg and sausage casserole. The coffee is always up in the air since my parents are not coffee drinkers. This year they’re bringing home the Keurig from the bakery. After eating, we all gather around the living room, my dad reads the Christmas story from Luke 2, passes out presents, and simply enjoy the company. Oh, and don’t forget the yearly family picture!
Especially since Jason and I aren’t local anymore, this is usually the only time that my entire family gets together all at once. It’s hard when you have a somewhat larger family, who also have their own families and in-laws in the area. Needless to say, this is a very special time for my family. I might kick myself later for saying this, but I’d almost be okay with not getting any gifts at our Hinkley Christmas simply because I love having everyone together. I love them. I miss them. I wish I could be there for the first Christmas owning Chestnut Hill Bakery and the adventure that entails. Thankfully, though, we moved our other tradition of going and shooting all my dads guns at the shooting range this year (we usually go in mid-December but we’re going after the usual festivities so that Jason and I can be there too).
So what’s the point of this post anyways? Well for one, I like talking about my family. But in all seriousness, I want you to think about two things.
1) Christmas really does revolve around family. Look at Jesus’ birth. It has everything to do with God and His Son and allowing you and I to become a part of God’s family. There’s a reason we call Him Father and that we’ve been “adopted as sons”, as Paul puts it. It also has a lot to do with Mary and Joseph’s little family. Talk about a tough first Christmas! And yet the most wonderful one there ever will be. Let us not forget this as we celebrate our own Christmases. And hopefully you too have a wonderful family to celebrate with!
2) There are a lot of traditions involved in Christmas – find out what yours are and cherish them! Traditions are part of what make us who we are. In some ways it can reveal your values. Speaking of which, don’t you love that song?!
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas this year celebrating Jesus, family, and traditions!
Posted on December 21, 2011, in Christian Living and tagged Christianity, Christmas, Church, Church Ministry, Family, Family Ministry, Pastor, Religion, Student Ministry, Youth Ministry, Youth Pastor, Youth Work. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.