The first week of this holiday carnival of posts is a difficult one for me, not only because I have had limited time to write, but because we actually have very few traditions. Let me explain:
I grew up in a Jewish home and family. We celebrated Hannukah instead of Christmas. I always felt like there was something missing (not knowing at the time what was missing was Jesus!). As I grew into young adulthood my parents somehow respected my choice to open gifts with them on December 25th, wrapped in Christmas paper and all the trimmings. I would spend the day with families of friends, just to have a little bit of Christmas, but always yearned to have my own family to celebrate with.
When I gave my heart and life to Jesus in the autumn of 1999 I was invited to spend the holiday season with the family that led me to my Lord. It was a time of learning, rejoicing, and my baptism on Boxing Day. I still hoped and prayed that one day I would have traditions of my own.
When I married my beloved Rick we would spend Chistmas with his family. It was always a cold, hard, non-Christian Christmas. There might have been Jesus on greeting cards, but not in the hearts of anyone but us. The holiday was about little more than food and presents.
We are trying to build our own traditions now, as each year we try to find other loving Christians to celebrate Jesus with. Our decorations begin early in November and remain through January. The house looks so lovely I hate to take them down. The first thing put out id the manger scene, reminding us what it is we are celebrating. Crystal angels, birds of peace, and other favourite trinkets sprinkle the tree. The best part of Christmas is joining with others to sing, rejoice and remember, so we never miss our Christmas Eve service. We exchange a small gift with each other before going to sleep. One year we helped serve dinner to the needy and lonely at the local Catholic church on Christmas day, but they have stopped that wonderful extension of God's love. We are looking for another way to serve this year.
It has become our tradition to donate to worthy causes in the names of our loved ones instead of purchasing expensive gifts. We then give them trinkets with notes informing them of how others benefited in their honour. Perhaps sharing the love of God with those in need is the greatest tradition of all.
Why don't you join us at the Internet Cafe and let us know how you celebrate!