A Perspective on Traditions from a Pastor’s Wife

Once again, we have the honor of hearing the wisdom of one of my dear friends, Joyce. She is a woman of the Word and deeply committed to sharing the hope of Christ with others. As a pastor’s wife and mom of grown children, Joyce has for as a tender perspective on the meaning of traditions.

Christmas is truly a “season of wonder” – but years ago as a young mother with three small children and a pastor-husband often called upon to work on holidays – my sense of wonder was sometimes best expressed by the questions:

“I wonder how I will get everything purchased, wrapped, decorated, baked, mailed out, and prepared on time?” 

I wonder how we will afford all this and if they already have or want this particular gift-item?” 

“I wonder if I will make it through the month of December?” 

“I really wonder when we will get to slow down enough to enjoy it all?”

Perhaps you can identify…

We can so easily get sucked into the ever-increasing pressure to do holidays like the world around us which is generally characterized by excess.

But it is never too late to sit down and think through your plans and determine to intentionally place your focus on the true meaning of this season and celebrate the best gift ever – God’s Son.  It’s His Birthday after all! 

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Our {MEANINGFUL} Family Traditions

Some years we did better than others when it came to giving our children the opportunity to realize that Christmas was all about Jesus’ coming to earth to be our Redeemer, and reflecting God more by learning “it is better to give than to receive.”

  • Of course, there was the prominent Nativity Scene in our home in which the long-awaited baby Jesus was missing until Christmas morning. 
  • There was the blaring of “For Unto Us A Child is Born!” from Handel’s Messiah coming from the CD player at a very un-godly, pre-dawn hour.
  • There was the reading of Luke 2 on Christmas morning, generally after the opening of stockings followed by a quick breakfast, but before the gift-unwrapping began.  
  • There were also Christmas pageants and caroling the wonderful music of the season, and Christmas Eve services – both early and late at night.  And, of course, the church’s Living Nativity outreach in which all played a part.

Our {FUN} Family Traditions

Along with these more “religious” traditions, over the years we have grown to enjoy and anticipate a few other family traditions (besides cookie-baking and tasting)…

  • A once-a-year made-from-scratch red velvet Birthday cake for Jesus complete with candle and singing Happy Birthday together.
  • An annual ornament for each child that usually symbolized something significant which happened in their life that year (sports, a musical instrument, a pet, and later graduations, international trips, etc.)  Recently these personal collections have been gifted to our newly-married sons to adorn their Christmas trees as they begin their own family traditions.  (Our tree may sadly look a bit sparse this year!)
  • Opening one gift each on Christmas Eve.  Our plan was to spread out the enjoyment, so we often set aside a few gifts for after-Christmas snow days or long car trips to visit relatives.
  • Watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”  together, crying at each appropriate scene, and reciting famous, now familiar lines by heart, reminding us of the importance of family and that “no man is truly poor who has friends.”
  • Mom’s “Gifts of Good Will” – a more recent attempt of mine to help bring “peace on earth, GOOD WILL to men.”   This involved shopping at various thrift stores and getting second-hand, unique, often silly gifts which would show up in stockings or tucked in with another gift, mainly to bring a smile.  When you stop and think of ALL we have, it makes sense to simplify the gift-giving, and it’s amazing what you can find when you go bargain hunting!

May you and your families this year refuse the self-focused, over-the-top, materialistic emphasis of this world’s holiday celebrating and bring back to your homes the simple, child-like wonder of God’s extravagant, sacrificial gift of his Son this CHRISTmas.

What are your holiday traditions?

Are there new ones you can establish that bring the focus back into perspective?

Is there a way to incorporate your teens into the traditions that speak to their hearts?

1 thought on “A Perspective on Traditions from a Pastor’s Wife”

  1. What beautiful ways to celebrate the Christmas season with your family! My husband and I have been married 3 years and this year have our baby now in the family, so we are just establishing traditions – and I am working on not being a control freak! We will have Christmas eve service at our church and then Christmas morning at our home then head over to my in-laws for Christmas lunch and hanging out. I’m looking forward to raising my son to know who Jesus is and why we celebrate Christmas – something I did not have growing up!

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