What child doesn’t love Christmas? You’d be hard pressed to find one. Growing up I couldn’t wait for Christmas morning. My sisters and I always sat as patiently as we could at the top of the stairs and waited. We knew we dare not turn that wall corner without my parents standing ready, coffee and video cameras in hand. We would tiptoe excitedly down our steps bursting to see what Santa Clause left us and play with our new toys all morning. That sort of holiday spirit is contagious. Especially seen through the eyes of a young child.
My sisters and I used to jump with excitement when that Sears Christmas catalogue was delivered at Thanksgiving. We would tear through the pages and create elaborate lists for Santa. I was no different than any other child. I loved gifts. But I’m thankful my parents made sure I knew that getting presents wasn’t what Christmas was really all about.
Each year they reminded us that Jesus’ birth is the reason we celebrate this time of year. It’s about remembering Him, serving and blessing others, creating memories, and being with family.
Today, as I stood in my kitchen baking Christmas goodies with my girls, memories of my own childhood Christmas’ through the years flooded my heart and mind and brought happy tears to my eyes. I couldn’t help but think of all those Christmas Eves and Christmas days spent at my grandparents homes with my cousins, aunts and uncles all squished in tiny rooms together eating, and laughing, and enjoying each other’s company.
I can honestly say I can’t remember a single gift I opened there. Not one. But I remember the love. The togetherness. The feeling of sitting with the adults and relishing in hearing their stories about when they were younger or just listening to them laugh and enjoy one another. THOSE are the memories that matter. The ones that make me think back fondly and evoke a desire in my heart to create those same types of traditions for my own children.
It’s not about the tangible gifts, you see. As cliche’ as that may sound.
It’s about making memories and establishing traditions that matter: Church Christmas plays, delivering baked goodies to the elders of the church and standing on their porches singing them Christmas carols. That giddy feeling of watching our Daddy drag the tree and ornaments down from the attic. Playing Christmas music as loudly as they would let us while we decorated the tree and hung up stockings. Sitting at my grandparent’s house on Christmas Eve singing songs about Jesus’ birth surrounded by the soft glow of lit candles and watching tears trickle down my Nanny’s cheek.
These memories are priceless to me. Cherished and held deep inside my heart.
It’s not about the presents, nope. I know we all know this, but we sure get wrapped up in it don’t we? Wouldn’t it be nice to slow it down a bit? To step away from amazon and target and just be with our families. Bake cookies together and deliver them to someone in need, make a Christmas craft, drive around and look at Christmas lights, make hot chocolate and sing Christmas songs, open our Bibles to Luke and read to our Children about the real meaning of Christmas.
Let’s normalize making Christmas about memories rather than STUFF. That’s the greatest and most sacred gift we could give our children this year (of all years) and every Christmas season that follows. I can guarantee you it’s the memories that will stick out in their minds and they will remember fondly when they stand in their own kitchen one day, thirty-seven years old and with a family of their own.
What I wouldn’t give to relive all those sweet traditions from my childhood just ONE more year. One more time. Today I’m thankful for Christmas memories, and that I’m blessed enough to know in my heart what this time of year is truly all about. I hope all of you can say the same and determine in your hearts to make Christmas more about traditions, and less about the packages that get shipped to our front doors.
And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14