Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Keeping Christmas Traditions

It is December 1st. Can you believe that this year is coming to an end? Christmas is 24 days away. I have been planning for it and looking forward to it for most of the year. I love this time of year. There are many reasons why. One in particular? Christmas Traditions.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Do you have things that you look forward to doing with family and friends as Christmas  approaches? There are several that I enjoy and am now getting to share with my son: decorating the tree, looking at Christmas lights, singing Christmas carols, reading stories, and many others. We do them year after year and I love them still.

What is it about the traditions that I love? First, it is a time that I set aside to spend with my family and friends to enjoy doing things with them. That is priceless. Life moves at a frenetic pace. It is necessary to slow down and take my time and enjoy things with them. Christmas is a perfect time to do just that.

Next, the things we do together have meaning for us. My wife and I (and now our son) decorate our home on the day after Thanksgiving (a good way to spend Black Friday) every year. We pull all of the Christmas boxes out of the shed and I put up the tree while Marixa decorates the rest of the house. I generally have the movie White Christmas on in the background because I can sing along (and quote most of the dialogue). Why is this meaningful? We are preparing our home for Christmas. We make it a warm and welcome place that encourages us to celebrate the season. We have ornaments on the tree that remind of us of times we have spent together. We have decorations that we have had for years that we can share memories. It is a time to remember where we have been and look forward to the good times to come.

Also, by practicing Christmas traditions we remind ourselves of the important things about the season: Jesus, giving, showing love, being thankful. Traditions are ways we hand down those beliefs and ways of thinking to future generations. Why do we go look at lights every year? Could it be that we look at lights to remind us of the star that called the Wise Men to Jerusalem? Or, of the starry night on which the baby was born? Yes, we like looking at pretty lights, but putting lights up has a deeper meaning and is something we can remember and share.

No two families are alike in the traditions they keep. They shouldn't be. Traditions are things that have to have meaning for those participating. If there is no meaning, there is little reason to do them every year. But, if there is meaning, the traditions hold the possibility of enriching the Christmas season and drawing you and the ones you love closer together. For this reason, we practice many of the same ones year after year. We look forward to them for years to come. 

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