Saturday, November 21, 2009

Memories and Traditions

I'm pretty sure we are not the only family who is noticing the crunch this year. The smaller paychecks ... the loss of a paycheck ... the budget reorganization. Yeah, we are there too.

So, this week it hit me that there are now LESS than FIVE WEEKS til Christmas.

And, my friends, that is TWO paychecks.

Yes, let the panic mode begin!

And, given the fact that we have not bought a single gift - except the outfits from last week's Christmas card picture session - it is CLEARLY going to be a lean Christmas this year. Not as much under the tree. No new decorations or (GULP, GASP ... breath ...) Christmas MUSIC. No out of the blue extravagant surprises that my sweet husband is so known for.

And, yet, the hearts will be just as full, the decorations just as bright, meaningful and merry and the MUSIC will be just as loud. I will still watch White Christmas a time or seven. I will still cry when the "Fall on your knees" line of O Holy Night is sung just right. I will still cherish every Christmas card, read every word of every letter and pray over every last one that I send out.

And, more than anything else, that Baby will still be in His manger ... on the way to His cross ... and ending up on His throne. He is still King. His promises are still True. He still saves.

So, after that initial bout of panic (and yes, even after a few mild recurrences), I have started thinking about ways that I can still make this a wonderful Christmas for my sweet girls. And I have come to realize ... or, better yet, remember ... that it is not about what is in the stockings that were hand made by my mommy, the boxes exquisitely wrapped by my husband or the bags that I stuff full because I am so inept at wrapping. It is about what we place in their hearts. The toys will be forgotten and, more than likely, broken in time, but the Gift that will remain is the One in the hay.

THAT is what I want to give them this year.

So, we will make memories and follow traditions and love on each other well.

And, I am hoping, that we can make NEW traditions.

MEANINGFUL traditions.

So, I want to ask you - what are your traditions? What do you do or have you done to make Christmas what is should be for your children?

When we were kids, my mom started a tradition that I continue with my kids today. Every Christmas Eve the children (with help, depending on age) make a cake. And after Christmas Eve service we decorate it and place one single candle on top. We turn down the lights and sing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus. Then we read the Christmas story (it has been out of a Christmas Bible that we bought a few years ago while they are little) and talk about Baby Jesus. I LOVE this tradition. And I want to start others like it.

So, I am asking for your input.

Please, tell me, what are YOUR traditions.

I really want to know.

Beacuse, really ...

TRULY ...

THIS is what is all about.



And, what could we possibly need more than HIM?

6 of ya left some love:

Teri~Facedown said...

Beautifully said friend!

Our main tradition is reading the Christmas Story out of the Bible each Christmas morning b the fireplace--before any gifts are opened--and praying as a family to dedicate our day to Him. It is always a special time! We've done it since PJ was born!

sara said...

We also did the cake tradition with our children when they were small.

But my favorite tradition that still remains is this: when the kids were little, we would have them exchange their gifts to each other on Christmas eve. As they gave the other their gift, they had to tell them what they loved about them. As they got older and could draw, they had to draw a picture about it and when they got old enough to write (till now) they had to write a letter to each sibling telling them what they loved about them. They read their letters out loud to each other. I thought when they got to be teenagers, they would balk at this, but it has become sweeter and sweeter each year. I never have to remind them to write their letters. They have even come up with some very unique ways to write their letters.

I love to watch them and hear their letters. It's the best Christmas gift!! My hope is that as they become adults and start their families, that they would still write each other a letter each year!!

Meeghan said...

Love this...we follow the same tradition as Teri, but it has been a picture book the last few years since the kids are so young. It is such a precious time. Now that M and E are singing more, I would like to start another tradition. when I was a kid, when we came out of our rooms, my bro, sis, and I would sing a few songs before we opened presents. We have every year into our teenage years on video. I want to have those same videos of my kids.

Shelly said...

I LOVED this....

...lump in my throat....

as I ponder the season.

This is mine and Nate's first Christmas, which won't technically be just 'ours,' as of course we'll share it amongst our two families, but I still want to have some special tradition started between the two of us :)

Meli n Pat said...

I wish I couldn't relate so closely, and then I realize that I am so fortunate that I do. This year is the first time my husband and I have absolutely NO money to put toward gifts. This is due to the fact that we have no regular income coming in right now. God has blessed us by providing for our "daily bread" and this season has already been blessed by the reminder that it is NOT about the gifts I give. I will not get to spend the holidays with family so that makes it harder. We DO get together with friends, share a meal and each other's company. We are still creating our own traditions, but one I loved growing up was reading the Christmas story, singing carols, and then telling each other how we are thankful for each other before gifts. It's a special time that I miss.

j said...

Amen sister! Giving your girls Him, or a glimpse of Him is far more precious than any toy. And, can you really remember what you got for Christmas when you were 2 or 5? I certainly can't....but those seeds of faith planted and those Words of scripture engraved on my heart are things I not only remember, but I treasure and hold most dear. Your traditions and your teachings are worth more than any package under a tree. Great outlook....keep being a Mom after God's own heart!