Last year, Mike and I talked about starting some new Christmas traditions. We talked about doing things that would help us to teach Emily the real meaning of Christmas. We wanted her to know that we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We knew that we didn't want her to be completely focused on presents and what others would give to her. With that in mind, we came up with a few traditions that our family hopes to follow.
Christmas Eve would be the time that we open presents. That means we do not plan to do the Santa thing. We don't think Santa is bad or anything, we just don't feel like he fits with what we want to teach Emily about Christmas. At her age, it hasn't really come up anyway.
Mike and I have always set limits on our Christmas spending. Over the last few years we have chosen not to exchange gifts with each other. Instead, we use that money to give to someone in need. We want to teach Emily the importance of giving. This really is something that we should do all year long (and we do, but we could definitely do more). We just want to show Emily that Christmas is about giving to others. We hope that she will grow up with a very cheerful attitude toward giving.
Christmas day would be a time to gather as a family and read the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke, chapter 2. We also have a celebration for Jesus' birthday (this usually includes a cupcake and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus). We hope that Christmas day will be focused on the birth of Jesus, not on the presents (that is why we open them on Christmas Eve).
We have talked about some other traditions, but that is all that we have implemented so far. One thing I would like to do next year is an advent calendar or something similar. I think we really need to make a point to prepare our hearts for Christmas.
This year we did not do very much decorating. Our tiny apartment is filled with equipment and we just could not figure out where to fit our tree. Mike did offer to move the love seat to storage, but I didn't like the idea of making guests sit on the floor. So, I bought a one foot tree that could fit on a table. I bought some lights, ornaments and a star. I also put out a few other items throughout the house that Mike was able to find in our storage unit.
If I am going to be honest, I will tell you that we have not really been in the Christmas spirit. We have had our minds on other things and we feel like we missed the holiday all together. There is so much about Christmas that I love and it makes me sad that we have not made the time to enjoy it this year. Amazing how easily we can get off track when other things steal our focus!
Though our focus has been elsewhere, it doesn't stop me from wishing you a Merry Christmas. It is our prayer that each of you would know God and love Him will all your heart, mind, soul and strength. He sent His only Son to earth in the humblest of ways. Jesus did not remain a tiny baby in a manger, but He grew into a man, lived a perfect sinless life and died on a cross for the sins of man. There is no greater demonstration of love!