It wasn’t too long ago that I was feeling sorry for myself. Coming from a broken home and later dealing with separation and divorce it was hard to believe that I could have anything normal for myself and my children. This feeling couldn’t be more powerful than during the holiday season, especially during Christmas. Traditions were something reserved for the normal families and those who had loving and caring homes. I believed that these traditions were passed from one generation to the next and in my mind they were filled with happy memories and I didn’t have those. It is amazing how Satan can use such self-defeating talk to bring us down and to cause us to forget about the Joy of the Season and the Joy that Christ brings. He wants to take our weaknesses and insecurities to defeat us.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10 (NKJV)
Recently I was speaking to a friend while helping her with Christmas decorating. She has 2 small children and I found myself reminiscing on the days when my children were young, both before divorce and after. Before I knew it I was sharing little things that I had done with my children each year. That was when it clicked, I had actually created traditions with my children even though at the time I didn’t realize I was doing it!
Traditions tend to bring the feeling of belonging and for some we don’t know where we belong anymore. This is the lie that we believe, that we don’t belong, but we DO belong. We belong to a large, loving, albeit sometimes weird family- the family of God.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (ESV)
I want to say one thing to my fellow female friends regardless of their family status: IT IS NEVER TOO LATE to start a tradition. It is never too late to live in the moment and create something you can pass on to a family member or friend.
We can change our USED TO’s, to STILL DO’s. Or if you don’t have any used to’s, you can make your own CAN DO’s (that was a tongue twister!). Once you do this be intentional and in the moment so you can cherish the traditions you have created.
Here are a few traditions I didn’t realize I was creating. You may have some similar as well:
- Generosity and Giving – Every Christmas my children and I would do something for someone else, whether it was ringing the bell for Salvation Army, purchasing and delivering gifts for an Angel Tree, filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, or serving food at a local soup kitchen. We did it together. I wanted to make sure they knew the value of giving to others and the joy that brings.
- Opening one Christmas gift Christmas Eve- Who knew it would most likely be pajamas? I know a lot of people who do this.
- Allow my children to go pick out gifts for each other all by themselves at the dollar store. Some of the choices where very interesting, but I tried to make sure they really thought through what they could bless their sibling with. As they got older they used their own work money to buy something for each other.
- Each child had their own small Christmas tree in their room that they could decorate just as they liked.
- Playing Christmas music and eating Christmas Cookies while we decorated the tree together. We always did it together and we always had Buckeyes as one of the cookies. That was a must!
I am sure there may even be more but you get the idea. Whether you are single or married, you can make a tradition for yourself. Invite someone to enjoy those traditions with you. Once I went to a friend’s house and they had special mugs for Christmas Eve, you couldn’t eat any Christmas Cookies until that night when you drank hot cocoa in the special mug, ate cookies, and listened to their father read the Christmas story from Luke. They even had mugs reserved for guests!
Remember, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE to start a tradition. Please know you are loved, that you belong, take hold of the joy of the Christmas season, be present, and share with others.
What Christmas Traditions do you have? What Christmas Traditions will you make? Please comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!
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Photo Credit: David Bares
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