Family Christmas Traditions & the True Meaning of Christmas

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Christmas is a busy season! There are many activities that keep us running around this time of year.

  • Purchase gifts
  • Wrap packages that are Pinterest worthy
  • Bake Christmas cookies
  • Attend parties
  • Decorate the house

So much that fills up our calendars! In addition, we have to keep up with the regular chores that can never go undone, like laundry and dishes. We find ourselves extremely busy, often overwhelmed and sometimes exhausted.

As for me, I feel like I am always struggling to keep up with the “To Do Lists” that would exhaust the Energizer Bunny. How do we fit it all in and not lose our marbles?

And then…there are the kids! How do we stay sane when the kids start misbehaving? Most parents know in advance that it is pretty much guaranteed that the kids will act up at some point. That is why the Elf on the Shelf and Santa have become popular traditions for many families. Being a parent myself and someone who works with children for a living, I TOTALLY get it! I am also guilty of this, so there is no judgment here!

As we run around in a frenzy checking off the items on our lists, we might find ourselves wondering…

Are we making things MORE hectic and complicated than they need to be?

Are we piling on too much?

In an effort to motivate our children to behave, are we burning ourselves out?

Are we frustrated with finding new and creative ways to pose the Elf on the Shelf?

Do we have anxiety about forgetting to move the Elf before the children wake up?

Are we feeling the pressure to provide our kids with the next best toy or newest technologies?

Are we going into debt to buy material things that can never be a substitution for loving relationships?

Are we sad when our kids are too old to believe in Santa?

In an effort to make the holiday special, have we allowed our holiday traditions to distract us or replace the TRUE meaning of Christmas?”

I admit, I was caught up in all of those things. It took finding an old CD to bring my attention back to Jesus. When I unpacked the Christmas decorations this year, I found that CD called “Sunshine and Snowflakes: Forty Children Singing at Christmas.”

As I listened to the words while we decorated, I realized that I have become distracted by the secular version of Christmas. Thankfully, God speaks to us where we are. For me, He had to speak over the noise and busyness of life through music. I have a hard time being still enough to remember WHY we are doing all of these things and WHO this holiday celebrates.

Years ago, in an effort to keep Christ in Christmas, my mother used the songs from “Sunshine and Snowflakes” to start a new Christmas tradition with her children. Now I do it with my own family. Inspired by one of the songs on the album, “Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus,” my mother baked a birthday cake for Him. We lit the candles, sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, and blew out the candles together. Sure, it might seem like a silly thing to do, but it really did bring our focus back to WHO Christmas was all about.

My mother would play this album as loudly as our record player would allow. (Yes, I just dated myself! I am officially OLD because most of my music skipped or scratched if we danced too hard or bumped into the record player.) We would sing along with the children on the album as we decorated the house in preparation for Christmas. It always reminded me that we weren’t just decorating for ourselves, but for the One who was born over 2,000 years ago. We’d sing:

Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus
even when your birthday’s through.
All year long we’ll remember
each precious gift we get from you.
When Jesus has a birthday
The whole wide world is there
And HE gives out the presents
for all the people to share.

When I found that CD this year, I jumped up and down! It is still my favorite Christmas album to this day! I bought the remastered copy of the album on CD a few years ago. If you listen carefully, you can still hear the familiar static-sound of the needle spinning within the grooves of the record.

I am very thankful that my mother was so intentional about passing down her faith to me. I hope my children will one day continue her holiday tradition of baking a birthday cake to remember the Reason for the Season.

As I gather with my family this Christmas and you with yours, I hope we ALL remember to adore Him, as the Wise Men once did, and as Wise Men STILL do. The words from the song on the “Sunshine and Snowflakes” album about the Wise Men goes beyond my ears and goes straight to my heart:

Wise men still adore Him,
the one born in Bethlehem.
Lay your gifts before Him.
In your heart
you’ll be born again!

Below are the links to the songs in case you would like to hear them and share them with your family.

Happy Birthday Baby Jesus!

Wise Men Still Adore Him

Merry CHRISTmas from our family to yours!

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Emily Sharp grew up in Baltimore, MD.  She accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of 6 and immediately wanted to be a missionary.  She moved to Waynesboro in 2006 and now resides in Fairfield.  After years of infertility, Emily and her husband, Jamie were blessed with three boys.  When Emily had her third child, all three children were under age 2, so Emily has been in the mission field of motherhood.  Emily knows that she will realize her dream of being a missionary someday, but her family is her primary ministry.  She utilizes social media to share her testimony with others.  It is her hope to point others towards God by sharing her own journey.  Sometimes the journey is filled with joy.  Other times, there is sorrow.  But she shares some of her most intimate thoughts so that others will know that we are not alone.  There is a God, and God is LOVE.

 

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