I love this time of year and everything about it! The tree, decorations, and parties! If you were here in person, I’d fix you hot chocolate and your choice of flavored marshmallows or whipped cream with Christmas sprinkles and chocolate chips. You’d hear Christmas music blaring and smell my Christmas candle burning!

I try to make this season special for my family. We emphasize the true meaning, of course… but we also enjoy so many of the cultural holiday “stuff”!

One day we were driving in the car when my son asked, “How come we don’t have any Christmas traditions???” Immediately my mind started to race! “I’VE FAILED MY CHILDREN!” “WHY DON’T WE HAVE TRADITIONS?” Then I stopped, thought, and asked him, “Well, what do we do each year at Christmas time?” We started to list the things we’ve done for years:

:: Watching the old Christmas movies each year.
:: Christmas dinner … different each year.
:: Reading from the same inspirational Christmas story books each year.
:: Each year the kids choose an new ornament.
:: We hang up the Christmas cards we receive, and pray for each person that sends a card.
:: Instead of a Christmas wreath on my front door, I hang a stocking and fill it with candy so that whoever visits can have a treat!
:: Some years we bake, some years…not so much!
:: We love, love, love to listen to Christmas music!

We’ve done different things each year. One year we spent the morning in D.C. with some people from our church, handing out bagged lunches to homeless people. We have ornaments with special meaning. I always top our tree with a crown of thorns, and hang a nail from the tree…to remind us why we celebrate. Each year we try new things. New recipes. I love picking out special little gifts for those who are dear to us.

Although we do things that might be considered traditions, each year looks a little different than the other. We are limited financially, so we do what we can with what we have been given. We refuse to go into debt at Christmas time.

One year we couldn’t afford a tree, so I got out our little artificial trees and we decorated them. I was feeling bad about the fact that we didn’t have a real tree. I was attempting to convince my family that everything would be “okay,” and that everything would still be “special.”

I finally stopped trying to convince everyone and we all tried to get perspective. We didn’t have a picture perfect Christmas tree, but we had what we could afford, did the best we could with what we had, and attempted to focus on being grateful … and on the true meaning of Christmas.

My children will have families of their own one day. What will I have taught them? Will they come away from my home remembering how mom fell apart because her tree wasn’t perfect? Will they remember me as someone who “made do” and made things special using what she had, or a mom who spent money needlessly? Will they remember a mom whose focus was honoring JESUS all year around, or one who just talked about Him during the Christmas season?

I love to buy my children gifts and make Christmas as Christ-centered and fun as possible. I love to read about and hear what others do, and then implement their ideas into our Christmas. But as I get older, and as my kids get older, the thing that is standing out to me the most is that I want my children to remember a home that was peaceful and Christ filled … all year. A mom who loved, respected and honored dad. A mom who loved and served her family. A mom who sought forgiveness and admitted where she was wrong. A mom who was committed to God and her calling.

I desire to be a mom who lived out the most important gift: the gospel.

These are the gifts that will stay with my children long after the decorations come down. Gifts that won’t break, go out of style, or get worn out. And will stay with them long after I am gone!

I love the Christmas season, but the “bigger picture” is what is looming over me right now. I am not saying the other stuff is not important, but this is what is being impressed on my heart. I know of families who have a lavish Christmas each year, many gifts, huge trees…but whose homes have no peace, and whose decision making is not based on God and His Word. “Christian” homes. I don’t want that!

I am not above that … but I don’t want that.

My prayer is that we would remember the Christ of Christmas all year, every day , every second, in every decision, in every word, in every thought. Adoring Him with our lives.

Oh, come let us adore Him! Oh, come let us adore Him! Oh, come let us adore Him! Christ the Lord!