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The Bible Chapel Blog

“…It’s Tradition”: Keeping the “Why” Alive this Christmas (Part 1)

Posted by Laura Ankrom on

By Brandi Murr 

PART ONE

With Christmas only days away, are you excited to celebrate the many traditions we enjoy around this time of year or are you starting to feel the weight of trying to make sure those traditions all happen without a hitch? Over the next two days, this two-part blog from the head of our Moms Together leadership team, Brandi Murr, will encourage you with ways you can keep Christmas filled with joy and meaning amidst the busyness while staying focused on the truth behind those traditions.  

Christmas is a time of year that I try to pack full of meaning: meaningful gifts, cards, decorations, dinners, desserts, experiences, movies, music, stories, and visits. It’s easy to enter the Christmas season eagerly, but feel wiped out and empty by the time it ends.

Could it be that this has something to do with me trying to achieve a perfect Christmas?

Out of all the holidays, Christmas is the most jam-packed with traditions; many have been celebrated for centuries, while others are unique to families; you may even be starting a new one this year! Traditions are wildly different, and so are the results that they bring: adventure, laughter, routine, well-behaved children, new pajamas, pictures, or a sense of reverence or joy.

With so many traditions to celebrate, I must have dozens of picture-perfect Christmas stories, right? Well, not really. There may be one here or there about finding the perfect gift for someone I love or a moment where everything came together in a seemingly perfect way. The fact is that more often than not, our best stories and memories come from the imperfect, the spontaneous, and our traditions.

So, here are the first two points to remember as you celebrate Christmas traditions with your family.

  1. Christmas traditions bring us together.

The traditions that we incorporate into Christmas can be a point of connection to our loved ones as they generate stories with laughter and tears. On the other hand, those same traditions can become cumbersome, irritating, or empty when they are separated from their true meaning and become routine.

Not every tradition has to be dissected and examined though. Sometimes the meaning of the tradition can simply be the act of carrying it out every year. For example, you can give a box of chocolate covered cherries to your sister every year and share a knowing smile. Whether they’re rooted in deep theology or simple family fun, traditions can give a sense of continuity to your friends and family that provides a feeling of closeness and nostalgia that warms the season.

  1. Be intentional about your traditions.

For traditions to endure, there needs to be intentionality – not only in participating in the activity but also in relaying the reason or heart behind it. Evaluating our traditions to make sure we are celebrating them for the right reasons is essential to preventing them from being lost in the fray of materialism and bustle that marks this season. To be honest, going through the motions is often easier than taking the time and energy to examine and explain the why; however, taking that extra step of intentionality will add so much joy and fulfillment to Christmas!

One example of a tradition to which we can apply this is the Christmas tree. Some families choose not to put up Christmas trees because examining the tradition reveals that its roots were at one point pagan. I respect these people because they have not blindly followed a tradition. Personally, however, I do put up a tree because I love that the once pagan tradition was redeemed and given new meaning through Christ.

To spread Christianity in ancient Germany, St. Boniface cut down Thor’s Oak and then pointed people to the fir tree to remind them of God. Its wood was used to build homes to shelter people, it points up to heaven, and its color is unchanging. All three aspects of the fir tree are beautiful reminders of God’s caring, glory, and faithfulness. As we celebrate Christmas, we can use stories like these to remind ourselves and our children that all we do is meant to glorify God and celebrate his goodness.

So there you have it! The first two reminders of how to keep the meaning behind your traditions alive and well as you celebrate over the coming days. Be sure to check back tomorrow for two more reminders to help keep CHRIST in Christmas!

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