Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Traditions

This blog post is sliding into home; I think this is very literally the last day that I can post about Christmas traditions until next year, even though I have been thinking about this post for the last couple of weeks. (There will be a post coming up about the BUSYNESS of this first half of the school year, but it will be in January as seems fitting.)

I wanted to post about our traditions at Christmastime for a couple of reasons.

  1. I get super nosy about the people whose blogs I look at. I want to know everything about them, how their personal lives run, and how things that they do can make my life better/easier/more God-glorifying. Because of this, I wanted to share these things with you, just in case you are like me.
  2. We are still, with children aged 5 and 2, in the pretty young stages of being a family. I feel like each year, the traditions change a little depending on where we are or what we are doing. Making a list seems to be a pretty good means of me, personally, reflecting on the traditions that we do have.
  3. I'm interested in your Christmas traditions and think that it may be nice to start a dialogue about them (but probably for next year, haha).
Tradition #1 - the Advent Calendar

This tradition is the most longstanding tradition we have in our house. One birthday of mine back before Charlotte was born, Adam bought me this Advent calendar. Every year, we fill it with slips of paper that have scripture on them and Dove chocolate. The idea is that each day, after dinner, we munch on our chocolate and Adam reads the appointed scripture.

I say that's the idea because we never do all of the days. Tradition #2 gets in the way, usually in between December 8-13, and some nights the kids just need to be poured into bed. Because of that, I keep a little candy dish for all of our "leftovers" to go into next to the calendar.

This year, we added a new component of this tradition. Adam talks with Charlotte a little about the scripture that he reads, applying it to Jesus and asking her questions about it. Then, he made a list of the people that Charlotte knows and each night, after the Bible reading, we prayed for one of the people on Charlotte's list. 

All in all, this takes about 10 minutes after dinner. Some days, that was definitely too much for tired/grumpy/not-feeling-100% kids. But every year we bring out the Advent calendar, there is much excitement, and every night we say that it is time to do it, even Jonah says, "Yay!"

(It occurred to me I should probably link to some Advent Calendar lists of scripture: here is the GirlTalk one and here is a more expansive one. This is the one we used this year that has a Bible study to go with it.)

Tradition #2 - the Christmas Worship Night
As I was planning this post and thinking about all the things that we do each year in December, this worship night kind of jumped out at me without me really considering it a "tradition." Both Adam and I are in our church choir, and each December our church puts together a worship night where the choir prepares praise and worship songs. It's not really a "Christmas show," even though I traditionally pitch it to people that way, so it really is more of a worship night. It wears our family out, and at the end of it, we feel like we have nothing left in the tank, but it is wonderful and a truly beautiful, if not inadvertent, tradition of ours.


Tradition #3 - Decorating with Christ in Mind
This isn't exactly a tradition, so to speak, but I wanted to discuss it anyway. I am not a natural decorator. I have commitment issues. Seasonal decorating, then, is that much more intimidating to me. But a couple of years ago as I was pursuing the ideas of biblical womanhood, I was convicted about keeping my home and making it a place that was warm and welcoming and lovely (decorated, haha). The more I thought about decorating for Christmas, the more I considered that in decorating, I can help my family keep the focus on Christ.

We live in a split-level house. During busy school weeks, we hardly go downstairs at all - the kitchen, main bathroom, dining room and bedrooms are all upstairs. The Christmas tree, however, is downstairs in the family room where 1) there is more room and 2) Jonah won't wreck it before Christmas. Because of these two things, I try to make the upstairs festive as well, without the tree. I put our nativity on the ledge coming up the stairs and lights around the ledge to brighten up dark days and light the manger scene.

More so this year than any other so far, I have noticed that this being in such a prominent spot in this season really has impacted my kids. Charlotte sees it and notices it more because it is in such a prime location in the house. Jonah can't wreck it, but he can see it, and that makes him want to play with his Little People nativity.

So there you go: three of our Christmas traditions. Whether we stay home for the holiday like we did this year or we travel like we did last year, these three things are consistent, and I pray that they are the things that my family remembers and looks forward to each Christmas. Merry Christmas, y'all, and Soli Deo Gloria.

P.S. The Charlie Brown Christmas Special
Adam would want me to add this, since God has preserved this in our culture to this point. Linus shares the true meaning of Christmas to Charlie Brown from Luke 2, so every year, we end up watching this special at least half a dozen times. We also play the music all season. :)


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Coming Soon...

...are new posts from me. Two weeks from today, be looking for a new post. :)