Today’s post is part of a series I am publishing monthly, Sisters in Spirit.
Sisters in Spirit is a series of blog posts by a group of women who felt that a spiritual perspective was lacking from the steady stream of news and information that flowed through their daily lives. They each agreed to carve out a space on their blogs on a monthly basis for a spiritual conversation. The topic this month is: Christmas Traditions: How to keep Christ in Christmas.
Although Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday, it isn’t because of what it stands for. It’s moreso because of what it has become: an endless spree of commercialism and a buffet of foods that would make even a glutton shudder.
And I’m as guilty as the next person for participating in all of it.
But I wish I wasn’t.
Now that we have a son, I so badly want him to understand the real meaning of holiday’s – where they originated and why we choose to celebrate them each month. This is especially true of holidays that have their origins in Christ-centered worship, like Christmas for example.
As we grow our family I have been pondering what ways we can create our own traditions, that hopefully impart to our children what really matters in life. For Christmastime I have come up with 3 so far that we have started and I have really enjoyed them. Feel free to comment on them and share any other ones you might have with me!
1. Baby Jesus is missing in the nativity scene. I read once that a woman decided to hide the baby Jesus from her manger scene until Christmas night because that is the night we celebrate his birth. If he wasn’t born until then, then he shouldn’t be in the manger scene. I LOVED this idea! The anticipation that builds as you wait for him to arrive is manifested in a visual absence of his presence…until he comes! I searched high and low and found a nativity scene that has the baby Jesus separate from the Mary & Joseph so I could do this. I was so excited to crawl out of bed on Christmas eve and set him out under the manger! The next day we celebrated that he was born!
2. Birthday cake for Jesus. My husband celebrated Christmas with a birthday cake for Jesus growing up. They would sometimes decorate it and sing Happy Birthday to Him. I love this idea! We started this tradition for our own family as well (although I am a day late on His cake this year – oops!). Although we aren’t big cake eaters, I do like this idea versus making cookies or something like that because it really feels like a birthday celebration with cake!
3. Presents for a family (or children) in need. “In need” doesn’t mean a video game or a Barbie doll, although sometimes they can be the figurative “cherry on top.” This means families that don’t have 3 meals a day. Families that don’t have heat in their homes. Families that need love. God put such a family in our paths before the holiday season so we took the money we set aside for each other for Christmas and spent some of it toward outfiting them with clothes, food and baby essentials (they have a little one on the way). We are still working on some more things to improve their living conditions, but being able to give (and pitch in with others who are giving) is truly a Christ-filled message: He meets our needs. Each year we “adopt” a family or children from either an organization or through word of mouth in the community and we help supply their needs. This keeps our own living situation in perspective (we have more than enough!) and helps us “love [our] neighbors” well.
How about you and your family? Do you have any Christmas traditions that you all do to celebrate the season?
I hope you continue this conversation by reading and commenting other perspectives on Christianity with my other Sisters in Spirit. Become part of the conversation:
Kelli Donley is the liberal, all-loving United Methodist. She is a novelist and a public health advocate. She and her dog Willie Nelson Mandela can often be found on the trails of the foothills in Colorado where they live. She dreams of writing a series of books from the perspective of the women in the Bible. She blogs at: www.africankelli.com
Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to a toddler boy, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife. (She does not play the organ.) She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice. Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler. Sarah blogs atwww.beautyschooldropout.net