Today sharing her family’s favorite Christmas tradition is Sarah Ball of Virtuous Woman Exposed.
With five children, ages 4-16, it takes a Christmas miracle to bring us all together for a sincere family moment. Christmas morning is hectic & fun, but hard to rein everyone in for some time of reflection. Boxing Day is a write off because we are so exhausted and overstuffed we can’t even move. The weeks leading up to Christmas are hurried and task orientated and in all the craziness we can usually grab 5 minutes!
Five minutes of reflection and unity is very hard to gain in a family of hormones, part-time jobs and pre-school attention spans. We manage to spend a lot of time together as a family, but it is almost impossible to get everyone to just SHUTUP for 5 MINUTES…. PLEASE!!!!
So once we find this moment, my husband and I gather the children around and threaten them “You will behave, this WILL be special, and You WILL like it!”
This moment begins with a gift.
Every year, we set aside a time to decorate the tree together.
It’s chaotic and the tree ends up looking like the ornament section of the dollar bin, but it’s a great family moment we love to share together. It’s led to fights, broken bulbs, some tears, and huffs, but mostly it’s filled with excitement, laughter, and the occasional breakoff into a Fred Astaire dancing moment. (Okay, that’s usually just me)
But all that fun aside my favorite moment is when I bring the gift. One ornament, carefully selected to reflect our year as a family.
We’ve had years of blessings, years of sorrow, strain and want, and many years of fullness and adventure. Just like the Lord said we would…
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Phew! I think that scripture sums up a single road trip with our kids!
2 years ago we had a very hard year. I wasn’t sure how we could find an ornament that would reflect the grief and loss and strain, until I found Kermit. Sitting contemplative.
“It’s not easy being green”
“Sometimes life is not easy,” we told our kids, sometimes we go through hard seasons, and we know that there is a gift in it; we just need to find it. Kermit expressed that perfectly.
When we gather for this family tradition we reflect on standout memories of the year and talk about how we felt about it. We then set our eyes on the year ahead, hanging our past year on our synthetic tree. Hoping for a continuation or, as we did the year of the Kermit, an end to our suffering. “I hope our next ornament is a bag of money” I joked. But God wasn’t, it was almost a prophetic joke, because we had a year of blessing the following year!
This year we hung a “new home” ornament, as we reflected on the crazy adventure we have had moving to a new town and the miracle of our new house. You can read here.
It’s great to see ornaments that tell a story, hanging on our family tree. So every year we decorate it we say, “Oh, remember this year?”
It brings everyone together and we look back and praise God together for what has been. We see how far we have come and we express our gratitude for being a witness to our blessings and struggles.
In all things we are to praise God, and we do this tradition, not to fill the tree, but to bring us together as a family and see how God has directed every step of the way!