Enjoying the Journey
We all have them. At times they must be adjusted, but always they live in our memory. Traditions held with family and friends. Fixed reference points in a world that is constantly changing.
Christmas is especially a time for tradition. There is a danger in allowing traditions to take the place only truth should hold in our hearts and homes. The strongest traditions are those that are rooted in truth. These stand the test of both time and eternity.
In the Pauley home we have traditions just like everyone else. Mom and dad have always loved Christmas and set so many traditions in motion. In addition to many of these, Tammy and I have started some of our own.
This week I helped the kids make several dozen Christmas cookies. It is a wonderfully messy tradition! As I write these words Christmas music is being played throughout our house. Decorations are up. Packages are being wrapped. The menu is being prepared.
Yes, I love Christmas traditions!
Permit me to share 3 of our most important ones…
- We read the story of Christ’s birth before any gifts are opened.
I must admit that as a child this was a tradition I did not fully appreciate! (The stockings were too stuffed to keep my attention fully on the Scripture reading at times.) Yet as I grow older I realize the beautiful message not only in the Christmas story – the story of God’s gift to us – but the message in giving it first priority in our celebration. Colossians 1:18 says it best, “that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
Just last week one of our children asked if they could read the story this year. Dad always read it to us. I have read it to our children. Soon I hope our children will be reading it to their children.
Could I challenge you to pause before the presents this year? Read the Christmas account in Matthew or Luke. As a family take time to thank the Heavenly Father for His unspeakable gift (2 Cor. 9:15).
- We meet with God’s people to worship and fellowship.
Angel choirs sang in the open field. Shepherds assembled at the manger. Wise men gathered in the house. All wanted to see and celebrate the birth of the Saviour of the world.
How sad it is when our celebration becomes too busy for the One who’s birth is being celebrated. As a boy it was never discussed whether we would be in the church meetings around Christmas. The answer was yes.
Sometimes, like this year, Christmas falls on Sunday. Do not think of this as an interruption to your plans! Worship is never a nuisance. The Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of our praise.
For many years our family has participated in a Christmas Eve service. I will have the joy of speaking at this meeting again this year. If you are within driving distance come and join us for a beautiful candlelight service. On the Lord’s day we look forward to being with our church family to rejoice in God’s goodness to us.
Worship Christ together as a family. This is a tradition that your children will remember. Holidays are to be holy days for God’s people.
- We make a big deal out of giving.
Just this week I witnessed the joy on the faces of two precious Christians as they gave to others. They were like little children as they sought to bless another family. This is God’s way.
Give a special Christmas offering to Christ through your local church. Find a needy person that you can help. Encourage a missionary or military family at this season. Demonstrate love to your pastor and his family.
But, whatever you do, be a giver not a taker!
Determine that your Christmas traditions will keep Christ, the church, and others at the forefront of your Christmas celebration this year. These are traditions rooted in truth.