It’s Never too Late to Build a Tradition
Sometimes in life God opens doors to meaningful experiences that you hope to never forget. December 2002 was one of those moments for me. I had been dating a young women (who has been lovely wife for eleven and a half years now) for about six months. I knew her family well, which consisted of her mother and two younger sisters. But that year she asked me to spend Christmas with them. I did so without hesitation… Let’s face it- When your 25 and in love you don’t want to miss a moment with that person.
But it was daunting to think about. Here was a family of women who had a very strong tradition for Christmas. And suddenly I- A man (or little kid depending on who speak to) was suddenly coming in and throwing everything off balance.
I didn’t appreciate it at the time. But there was order and meaning, and appreciation for what the season was about. Every year my wife’s mother fixes an incredible dinner. In fact of all the dinners I eat throughout the year this is the one I look forward to most. We eat Crab legs, and Shrimp, and make fun of my youngest sister Janelle (let’s face it- I love these two girls and that’s what they are to me: Sisters) because she is always the last to get her crab cracked and out.
Then (after the dishes have been done) we sit in the living room, read the Christmas Story, marvel at the miracle of our savior, and open gifts. Our gifts are mostly simple. We draw names and do secret Santa’s and keep the price low but the gift meaningful. (Let’s face it- You could buy me a book or a coffee mug and I would be happy for a year.)
It's things like this I want my children to have. Memories that they can look back on and say for the 18 years I was growing up- We did this every year. I want my children to understand a Gift is a Gift (No matter if it is $10 or $50 or $100). I want them to know that price tags are meaningless and all that matters and seeing someone smile.
But that digs at a deeper question: Why do we give…? Well, because he gave to us when “He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of man.” – Phil. 2:7
I didn’t start building a meaningful Christmas tradition until I was 25. So if you find yourself there today, remember it’s never too late to start.
My wife and her family have taught me that Christmas is about family, love, being loved, and remembering the birth of our savior.
Merry Christmas, and God bless. J.J.