Today we have Amanda White of ohamanda.com sharing the story of how her favorite family tradition came to be. If you haven’t heard of her fantastic Advent e-book, Truth in the Tinsel, you really need to check it out!
My favorite Christmas tradition started with reading a book to my daughter. This daily advent book suggested making an ornament and we did. It was a simple ornament with basic craft supplies I found around the house. Then, as the book progressed and didn’t instruct us to make more ornaments, my daughter demanded we make them anyway!
So, every day, my almost 2 year old and I would read our little book (or some other book) and come up with some kind of ornament to make. They were not fancy. In fact, they barely went along with the Christmas story, but my little girl had so much fun.
The next year, I decided to make up my own ornament-a-day activities for her. We read through the Christmas story in Matthew, Mark and Luke and made ornaments to tell the story. She loved it and it surprised me to see how much she knew and understood of this big story! She could walk you through the whole story just by pointing at her little handmade ornaments.
Each year, I’d come up with (hopefully) better ornaments or more focused Scriptures to read. And every year she still enjoyed it. Until one day I thought, “Maybe some other kids would like to do this, too.” I wrote down all the best ornaments we’d made and turned it into a little ebook called Truth in the Tinsel. It’s been used by thousands of families all over the world and every December my daughter–and now my son love looking online to see pictures of kids making the same ornament they are making.
I never knew a little activity with my daughter could turn into something that would affect other people. But that’s what Christmas does. It’s what God’s greatest gift does. When we turn our hearts to Jesus’ arrival as a baby in Bethlehem, we can’t help but celebrate. We can’t help but tell others.
I think Christmas traditions of every kind are really just tools to help us point back to Jesus. Christmas trees can remind us of God’s everlasting love. Christmas lights reminds us of the Light of the World. Gifts speak of the greatest gift of all! When we use these small traditions to help our kids learn about Jesus and the true Christmas story, it will become an automatic thing for them. They will look at Christmas through a lens of celebrating Jesus! And in turn, their conversations with friends and others will also point back to Jesus.
I love that as we walk around our house, shop in the stores, turn on the TV and even drive through our neighborhood, we see a celebration of Jesus and his birth. People may unwittingly celebrate him and may literally throw the baby out in lieu of commercial Christmas. But even still, as parents, we can use these little traditions to point our children’s hearts to Jesus. When we do, it will be easy for us (and our kids) to point others to Him, too.
As you go about your December, look at all your traditions–from cookie baking, to tree trimming to serving food to the hungry as loud sparks of joy, gifts of hope and announcements of peace to your family and the whole world! “Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let earth receive her king!”
What Christmas traditions do you like to share with others?