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A Few of Our Favorite Things – Your Turn to Share Too

December 17, 2010

We thought it would be fun to share a few of our favorite things for Christmas. So here are a few family traditions some of the members of the Scripture Dig team holds near and dear and a glimpse at what it might look like in their homes.

KATHY HOWARD

On Christmas Eve we work to keep the focus on Jesus in several ways. First, we always attend the Christmas Eve service at our church. Gathered with friends and family we pray and sing praises to God. Second, we make a birthday cake for Jesus. Baking – and eating – the cake reminds us of the real reason for the celebration. Third, we always read the biblical account of the first Christmas from Matthew and Luke. My parents always did this with me and my brother and it is something my husband and I have continued with our kids. It will be fun to see what our children do with their children to help them think about Jesus.

JULIE SANDERS

The First Gift of Christmas ~
Our family traditions have changed with the seasons of our lives. One of our enduring traditions has been the “first gift of Christmas.”  On Christmas Eve we present each of our children with a wrapped ornament chosen to reflect events or lessons in their lives that year. As they open their collection each year, it’s a reminder of the many people, places, and circumstances God is using to shape them into the people He wants them to be. They wait with excitement and wonder each year to see what the new ornament will be. I always put their “first gift” beside their plate at Christmas Eve dinner; it goes along so well with the reading of the story of God’s greatest gift to us.

The Official Christmas Song ~
Another tradition we’ve enjoyed is the official “Christmas song” that begins our Christmas morning. Once the breakfast is in place and the fire is going, my husband turns on the Bonanza Christmas album. When we hear Ben Cartwright shout, “Merry Christmas neighbors!” we wait for the notes of Hark the Herald Angels Sing to ring out, and our celebration begins. I admit I thought this tradition was corny at first, but our children have embraced the song that came from my husband’s family Christmases. We recite the familiar words and laugh at it each time, but it has become a beloved part of our tradition. It reminds us that the truths of our celebration endure throughout all generations.

SANDRA PEOPLES

One tradition we hope to start next year is celebrating again on January 7th, the day they celebrate Christmas or “Ganna” in Ethiopia! Because our adopted son will be from Ethiopia, we will celebrate his heritage with an Ethiopian meal on that day. We hope to focus our family on the fact that “God so loved the world, He sent His Son…” and remember believers, missionaries, and those they are reaching around the world.

KRISTI STEPHENS

*Getting our shopping done early! My husband and I have always aimed to have the bulk, if not all, of the Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving. This started for us first out of necessity as we were so extremely financially strapped in the early years of our marriage; we would shop sales and clearance all year long and squirrel things away for Christmas. I found that this not only helped us financially, but it also really helped to make December much less stressful and allowed us to focus on really celebrating Christ! Now that we have young kids, this habit/tradition has really helped us not get stressed and crazy and lose sight of what an amazing time Christmas is!

*Observing St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6th – for the last couple of years I’ve been using St. Nicholas day as a time to teach my daughter about the history of where the story of Santa came from, and teach the historical account of St. Nick. We talk about the fact that he was a man who loved the Lord, and because of that wanted to give generously to children and those in need. It’s a great time to encourage her to go through her excess toys and choose things that she can give to the needy; Monday we took a big box of stuff she freely decided to part with, along with some needed paper products, to a local homeless shelter. There is a children’s book called Santa Who? from author Gail Gibbons that gives a great historical overview.

*Focusing on Christ in non-traditional decorating! 🙂 We love to decorate our house; my husband is a bit of an artist in hiding, and he comes up with some really creative ideas. It seems that the last couple of years we have become less and less traditional with our Christmas decor – we haven’t had a big tree for the last few years, mostly because of space and the age of our kids, but I’ve really started to like doing other things instead! I attached some pics for you, and there are more pics/ explanations in this post.

*Just for fun, each year we make a gingerbread house together. =) I have pictures, recipes, and directions in this post.

*This probably doesn’t count as a “tradition” as this is the first year we’ve done it, but we are loving Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Advent devotionals (available for a free download here). I sewed a Jesse Tree banner and each night we add the ornament that corresponds to the devotional we read together at dinner. I attached a picture of this, too!

STEPHANIE SHOTT

I love decorating my tree with ornaments we bought in North Carolina when the children were younger. Every October, we took our children to the mountains for vacation where we would make our annual trek to the local country store where they sold beautiful Christmas ornaments. They were special because each one had one of the various names or titles of Jesus.

When I decorate the tree I spend time reflecting on who Jesus is and what He has done for us. When I get an afternoon or evening alone during the Christmas season, I turn off all the lights except for those on the tree and make my way through each name and just spend some time worshipping the King of kings. I look forward to that special time with just me and Jesus every year.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! Do you have any traditions you’d like to share? Were you prompted to pursue any of the traditions the Scripture Dig team shared?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2010 12:15 am

    What a great, varied collection of ideas here! Most anything that keeps the focus on Christ and helps to stay out of being “too busy” in the season sounds great to me (even if those events change every year). I definitely like to read the birth accounts during this season to remind myself of the beauty, amazement, and grace that comes from “the Word become flesh.” Getting the logistical stuff of the holiday season (like presents and such) done early to allow for a slowed time of worship helps.

    We’re looking into what type of advent devotions we might like to include during this season (and any time of the year).

    • December 19, 2010 2:32 pm

      Caroline ~ I love the whole “getting things done ahead of time” concept too! That would prevent so much attention focused on getting and doing and we’d be able to spend much more time on worshipping and basking in His presence!

      • May 1, 2011 5:25 am

        Walking in the pesrecne of giants here. Cool thinking all around!

  2. Colleen Gudge permalink
    December 26, 2010 6:25 pm

    I have had family traditions that were not centered around Jesus. This year inspired by the Scripture Dig team, I made some changes. First, I’ve always been a giver but I wanted to give more like Jesus. Even though I’m unemployed and money is precious, God has trusted me with sharing His gift. I gave whenever the opportunity was presented and gave all that I had at the time, no holding back! I also gave of my time to others. I was on a mission to give personally in a very impersonal world. Now that I have an awareness of the need in my community, I will be better prepared for next year to give each day of the Christmas season and celebrate the One who is the reason. Thank you all for sharing and may Our Lord blessing you and continue His work in you!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      December 26, 2010 10:11 pm

      Colleen ~ You are so inspiring! I love your heart of giving – it’s contagious and challenging! I’m so excited you are developing new traditions! Thanks for digging with us. 🙂

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