Every year I get that “little kid” excitement about the holidays. As a parent, it’s a lot of work. But, it’s so worth creating memories for my family. My husband and I put up the Christmas tree about three weeks before Christmas and we have a family decorating party. (My husband usually puts on the lights because he’s very detailed and takes time to get them on just right. I don’t have the patience that he does so I just wind them around the tree.)
I love Thanksgiving through New Year’s so much that I consider the whole time a wonderful holiday season with the primary focus being on Christmas. We leave the Christmas tree up until New Year’s Day. That way I take full advantage of every moment of the season.
To me Thanksgiving represents family and thankfulness for all that God provides. New Year’s represents a new year filled with potential where I can do what is needed to grow in every way… professionally, emotionally, mentally (think of all the things we can learn in the year coming up), spiritually and in so many other ways. It represents new opportunities to be a blessing to my family and those around me.
But, for me, Christmas is the primary celebration. Christmas reprents a special focus on the Lord of all Creation who allowed Himself to become a frail and helpless baby, cared for by His own creation, dependent on an earthly mother and father… knowing that His ultimate goal was to live a sinless life so that He could be the sacrifice that paid for our sin. What amazing love He has for us that He would leave the majesty of Heaven and come to earth to take our punishment (eternal death – meaning eternal separation from the God of Light and Life who created us because God cannot look on sin of any kind… not even a little white lie). Jesus’ arrival on earth… His birth is what Christmas is all about.
The other thing that Christmas reprents to me is family. I have so many fond memories of Christmas family times growing up and I want to make special memories for my family as well. This year my husband and I will be incorporating a couple of new traditions into our family Christmas. One of them will be a change in the “stockings hung by the fire with care.” You see, although Santa is a very fun story that we really enjoy, it’s a story, not reality. We read Santa stories and watch Christmas movies, but our children know that they’re make belief stories that we read or watch because they’re a lot of fun, not because they’re true. Our kids have always been OK with that and have lots of wonderful Christmas memories.
We have always told our children that Christmas is about Jesus. And, I’ve read to them the true story about the original Saint Nicholas from where the legends have grown. We can take the generosity of heart that the original Saint Nicholas (who loved and believed in God) had and create a tradition around that. We’ll put up our stockings for decoration as usual. But, there will be an extra stocking for baby Jesus. In that stocking we will be putting money throughout the season and that money will go toward some special charity or mission. We have yet to decide which one. But, that will give our children a little feeling of looking past themselves to something they can do to help others.
Christmas is such a fun time of year and we’re really looking forward to all of the fun, excitement, and enjoyment.