Breaking tradition is difficult for me, especially when it comes to family. For as long as I can remember, there has always been a “real” Christmas tree in all my homes. My earliest memory of this tradition actually flashed into my mind just the other day. My grandfather, who was a Shriner, helped sell Christmas trees at a local grocery store. The proceeds went toward the Shriner’s Crippled Children’s Hospital. He would bring home a tree for us to decorate. Fast forward to my married with children days. My husband and I began our own family tradition of packing up our kids in the car and heading to a Christmas tree farm, where we picked out the most “perfect” tree on the grounds and then we cut it down. Some years, however, the trees were not so perfect, like the one in Colorado. The trunk was so crooked it caused our “perfect” tree to tumble over in our living room (every time we were away from home). Oh my, fun times!
Well, this year I’ve been struggling in my spirit with the issue of buying gifts with money we really don’t have to spend. Going through some difficult transitions with job changes and playing catch-up with some financial obligations, the money just hasn’t been there to buy “all” those gifts to put underneath the tree. What tree? When it comes right down to it, going to the Christmas tree farm and cutting down a real tree isn’t cheap. This is what we’ve done, though, with our kids and now grandkids. Not this year!
While thinking of ways to cut back on spending this year, but still capture some favorite family memories, this idea came to me.
Family Church (4 Generations Collage)
Several years ago, my husband, Jeff, inherited a wooden church that his great-grandfather made as a carpenter; he was also a Baptist pastor. This beautiful wooden church has been passed down from generation to generation (now to the 4th generation). One of my most favorite memories of this church is when Jeff’s grandparents had it. They always had an artificial tree sitting in the chimney of the church, decorated with old-fashioned bubble lights. That’s it! This year, we will sit the church in our living room, where our “real” Christmas tree normally sits, and possibly we will put an inexpensive little tree in the chimney. Since we receiving the church, I purposefully display my hand-made nativity set. My grandchildren love to play with the various pieces, especially placing baby Jesus in and out of the feeding trough.
It never ceases to amaze me how God cares for even our little family traditions. My God is the Master Creator!
This year, we may not have a “real” Christmas tree, but we will focus on Christ. Instead of placing our gifts under a tree, we will place them around the church. And on Christmas day, Pappy (Jeff) will share the story of the greatest gift of all—Jesus, by reading the Gospel accounts of His birth from Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 2:1-11.
What are some of your favorite, or new Christmas traditions? Please share some in the comments.
My greatest passion is intentionally passing my faith in Christ down to the next generation, starting with our family. I’ve been married to Jeff since 1975. We have three adult children, two sons-in-law, and six grandchildren…our greatest joy in this life! I served alongside of my husband in pastoral ministry for twenty years. We currently offer resources and a speaking ministry to churches and families called Covenant Heirs. Our mission is to encourage and equip parents, grandparents, and others to intentionally live a life of faithfulness to God, with a family discipleship emphasis. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in learning more about us and our ministry.
Holding His Hand blog (2016) is dedicated to my mom, Audrey Lewis, who learned to trust in Jesus during her battle with cancer. This blog testifies to God's amazing love and provision in our lives.