Bringing Christmas back to being Christ-focused brings a kind of joy only He can give.
“And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments or no.“
So, Hi, I’m Sarah, and I’m a stickler for family traditions. I believe they help children feel settled and secure in a family story. I’m not at all pushy about it… okay, I am. For me, rhythms and seasons bring comfort and stir up feelings of nostalgia. I can’t wait to do ALL THE CHRISTMAS THINGS with my kids… and now, with my grandchildren.
But, I’ve learned over the years that God has the right to regulate my traditions.
Traditions are something every young family has to wrestle with.
Both husband and wife come to the marriage with expectations, experiences, and varying degrees of intensity/conviction about said traditions.
One may look upon them as dusty relics of a by-gone era. One may see them as non-negotiable.
Though the internet is full of ways to keep the holidays (hello, Pinterest!), it’s important to remember that traditions and seasons are God’s idea and fall under His Lordship.
In His Word
In Genesis we read of God dividing day and night for a reason:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.” Gen. 1:14 (ESV)
Also, God commanded certain festivals and feasts as traditions for His people. It wasn’t so they could kick back and take a little break every so often. God’s purposes are always to bring our wandering minds back to the truth of who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing in our lives today and every day.
God established yearly traditions so Israel would remember Him. Additionally, He gave them a multi-generational mandate to teach the next generation about the wonderful deeds of the Lord. God wanted them to remember–
- How God saved their firstborn children from the Angel of Death while in bondage in Egypt (Passover)
- How they quickly and hastily departed from Egypt at God’s direction (Feast of Unleavened Bread)
- How they journeyed in the wilderness for 40 years and lived in tents with God’s Presence going before them (Feast of Booths)
- How God makes a way to atone for our sins (Day of Atonment)
When we create traditions as a Christian household, we must remember that keeping traditions a “certain way” does not give us a better standing with God or commend us to God (1 Cor. 8:8). But they should point us TO God.
In all that we do, whether we are eating or drinking, (1 Cor. 10:31), wrapping or decorating, caroling or convalescing in a sickbed, we should be living in a manner that is “worthy of the Lord” and bringing Him glory.
In Your Life
So with that in mind, here are some questions to ask as you try to navigate your own family traditions:
Will this tradition bring me into bondage?
- How can I glorify God and make His name central in this tradition?
- Does this tradition present the truth about God or is anti-gospel?
- Can we attend this party “as unto the Lord?” Will my testimony be hindered if I do?
- Did I open my home just now with humility and love?
- As I serve this holiday meal, is it with gentleness?
- Am I giving this gift in meekness or to be seen and rewarded of men?
The most important tradition you could give your children is a life that honors God every day, that isn’t distracted by peripherals. Remember Jesus Christ as you celebrate. “Isn’t it fun to give gifts to each other at Christmas, Susie? God gave His most precious gift to us when He gave us Jesus. Isn’t God generous?” “Let’s set the table extra pretty for grandma. Did you know that God is preparing a place and meal for us in heaven someday? He promises so.”
Tell them they are invited to be part of God’s story by accepting the free gift of eternal life, made possible by the shed blood of Christ on the cross as the payment for our sins. And tell your kids what God has done– and is still doing– for all those who trust in Him for salvation.
THIS beautiful and inspiring art by Rebekah’s Calligraphy!
For Kids: Keeping Holiday is a delightful children’s allegory about the temporary happiness of Christmas and the lasting joys of finding the Founder of the Holiday. And If You’re Missing Baby Jesus. We read this each year to our little ones to remind them of the joy of giving.
For Moms: Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper.