Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas traditions

Noel Piper says that "For a Christian, the heart of our traditions, and the heart of our teaching is God, whom we know through his acts and his words. ...Traditions are memories, and they are for memory. Our children and grandchildren don't have to be locked in to the small world of their own experience with God. Traditions give them a whole world's worth and a whole history's worth of God." (Treasuring God in Our Traditions, 32)

Christmas is a great time for traditions that point us back to God. Here are some traditions our family has developed over the years, which we hope draw us closer to our Lord.

  • Advent Calendar. Every night in December leading up to Christmas, we read the Christmas story using the advent calendar designed by Noel Piper. It's a rustic-looking version of the Christmas story, with plastic farm animals, dowel-rod people, and a velcroed manger on a burlap backing. But Dylan absolutely loves learning the Christmas story this way. (Apparently, the advent calendar is being redesigned by Desiring God and is not available to buy this season.)
  • Memory tree. Decorating the Christmas tree is a family affair, and many of our ornaments are souvenirs from past family vacations. It's a fun way to reminisce about good times God has given our family over the years.
  • Cookie plates. We try to be a witness to our neighbors and share the love of Christ by giving them a plate of homemade cookies and a Christmas card from our family.
  • Christmas lights. We enjoy walking or driving around to look at homes that are decorated with Christmas lights. There's nothing too spiritual about this tradition, but it's a great way to spend time with family. It's even better with a big cup of hot cider or hot chocolate (complete with whipped cream!).
So, does your family have any special Christmas traditions?

Photo credit: scottfeldstein

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