Merry Christmas from all of us girls here at GLOW! We hope that your day has been full of festive fun so far! Whether you’re gathering with family, friends, or having an intimate celebration at home, there’s so much to fill this day with. Each Christmas holds the promise of blending traditions and memories from years past with the new experiences of the present. What fun!
We’re tag-teaming the post today because, well, it’s Christmas and the more the merrier right? We thought it would be fun to share a little bit about our favorite memories from years past that helped us each come to a deeper understanding of the true meaning of Christmas. While we sat down and thought about them, it was so encouraging to see how we each caught a glimpse of the goodness and newness of Christ with the passing of each year.
What are traditions? According to dictionary.com, “tradition” is the transmission of customs from generation to generation. I can’t say that my family has a lot of traditions that we stick close to every year, but there is one in particular that is very special to me. I not only have fond memories from this tradition, but even as a young child it helped me understand, and later reminded me, of the true meaning of Christmas.
For the last 23 Christmas Eves of my life (that’s all of them), my family would gather together in our Christmas pajamas and read the Christmas story from the Bible. The atmosphere had to be just right. It was always just before bedtime and right after we set the cookies out for Santa and started a fire in the fireplace.
We turned off all the lights and lit all the half-used candles we could find in my mom’s stash, strategically placing them about the room. The room would get really quiet, and my dad would begin reading the story of our Savior being born in a manger – the King who came to Earth and brought joy and peace to His children.
I would listen quietly in my chair, usually gazing into the Christmas tree lights and be reminded why the presents were under the tree, why we sang Christmas carols and why suddenly, a sweet tooth was acceptable.
My heart would be at ease again, remembering that the true meaning of Christmas is far past the hustle and bustle – it’s to celebrate our Savior being born. The Savior that came to save us from our sin. The Savior that came and showed compassion on the undeserving, love to the unwanted and grace to us all. That friends, is the true meaning of Christmas.
The older I get, the easier it is to forget what this season is all about. It’s easy to get caught up in the Christmas parties, finding the perfect gifts for friends and family, and Christmas cards going out on time (which I didn’t get to this year…boo).
But every year, at that very moment when I sit around the living room in the glowing candlelight with my family, I am reminded why all of this matters. I am required to step back, pause, sit down for a minute, and remember the reasons we celebrate Christmas. This tradition, above all the rest, will be passed down to my children as well. Happy Birthday Jesus!
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
The Christmas season has always been my favorite time of year. The fun traditions. Christmas trees. Hot cocoa with marshmallows. Warm fuzzy socks. Hallmark Christmas movies. Christmas carols. Family. Baby Jesus. The anticipation and hope of GOOD things. I have had many great memories of Christmas, but my favorite memories so far are the ones my family is creating now. There is nothing like seeing Christmas through a child’s eyes! The wonder. The amazement! It’s all so inspiring and full of hope. When we lit our Christmas tree, Liam smiled a huge gummy grin, and all he can do is stare at it when he is in the same room. The wrapping paper is a blast to him! He has even joined us for some Christmas movies and smelled the buttery aroma of homemade snickerdoodles.
Memories I will cherish forever have been shared around our Christmas tree this year. We started reading an advent book together called, “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift” by Ann Voskamp. Her new book has gorgeous pictures that capture the wandering attention of little ones. The language is also child friendly and relatable. She has activities for families to do as well as things to pray for as you hang an ornament all 25 days. My little family of 3 (and sometimes 5 when our furry children decide to join us) sit by the Christmas tree and read our advent book.
Liam is only 6 months old, but it is never too early to teach him about our greatest hope and joy- Jesus! I look at his wonder and awe of Christmas (that will only increase) and pray that he has that same wonder and awe of Jesus. I pray that our little family of 3 will always have that wonder and awe of our Savior. That He will be the center of all our Christmases. Many Christmases of mine have been wonderful but never have I experienced a Christmas so exciting as this one- directing our focus back on Christ. Knowing that without Him, Christmas wouldn’t exist. The King is coming! Can you feel the buzz in the air?
I’ve had many magical Christmas’s but my very favorite one was the first Christmas Scott and I shared as husband and wife. We had only been married for a few months. He was 21 and working his first job fresh out of college. I was 19 and still in school. We didn’t have much money and we lived in a little, one bedroom apartment. The walls were thin and we could hear the couple next door argue over the crazy ex-girlfriend who kept writing snide messages on Facebook (oh the drama!). We didn’t care about any of that though.
For the first time, we got to wake up on Christmas morning together, so in love. For the months leading up to that day, I was beginning to understand the love of Christ in a new way. The Bible uses the illustration of marriage to describe our relationship with Jesus. A marriage is made up of selfless, generous, love. The kind of love that wakes up on Christmas morning so excited to see the joy in your spouses eyes when he opens your gifts or the kind that is content to just sit and be with each other by the tree.
Our first Christmas Tree.
That Christmas, I understood in a new way the love that God felt for me. The kind of love that was so excited to see the look in mankind’s eyes when the gift of the Savior was revealed in such an unlikely package. The kind of love that so desired to be with us that He took on the form of a helpless, human, infant. The kind of love that, in some small part, I felt for my husband that Christmas morning in our tiny apartment.
As we sat next to our first Christmas tree that I was so very proud of that morning and drank coffee from the mugs we got for our wedding a few months earlier, I understood the love that was demonstrated by the Lover of Our Souls on that first Christmas so long ago. Ever since then, Christmas has been deeper, more meaningful, more sentimental for me because, Christmas is really just like the newly wed phase; it’s full of unabashed love and only the beginning of so much more!
Our first married selfie…that wasn’t even a thing back then!
The traditions you repeat today may be time honored and repetitive but the mercies of God are new every morning! Seek His newness in the sameness today! Let this years Christmas memories take you right back to the manger, where Jesus is waiting to rock your world!