Shifting Traditions and Timeless Truths

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

When I was a kid, I would wake up one December morning to a messy living room with boxes of balls, bells, and glittery stars. Whenever I did, I became giddy with excitement because that meant it was finally time to put up our Christmas tree. My mom, my siblings, and I would spend the whole morning decorating the tree, and in the afternoon, my dad would climb his trusty ladder and top it with a star. This was one of my favorite parts of the season because it’s not Christmas until you have a fully-decorated Christmas tree and at least one morning covered in glitter.

I remember my brother and I counting houses with Christmas lights whenever we were on the road. He takes that side, I take this. We shouted out the numbers and held our fingers up to keep track of who was winning. The winner got… well, nothing, but we still never failed to count every year when we were kids.

One of the things I always look forward to during the Christmas season is hearing stories about Mary, Joseph, Jesus – and Sarah. I know what you’re thinking: “Who’s Sarah?”

Sarah is a little girl from a story that my mom used to read to us siblings. I vividly remember sitting on our couch by the Christmas tree, curled up in a ball and tucked under my mother’s arm, listening to how this stubborn little girl was made to pack bags of clothes and blankets for homeless strangers. Come Christmas, she met and hugged every one. I remember that being so striking for me because of how even the most stubborn little girl can be capable of giving love to total strangers. It was through stories like this, and those of the birth of Jesus, that I learned that Christmas – cheesy as it may sound – is about giving.

As a kid, I loved the little traditions that made it feel closer and closer to Christmas— decorating the tree, counting Christmas lights, telling stories. Advent is, after all, a season of anticipation. The closer Christmas comes, the more you see celebrations in full swing.

But fast forward a couple of years and you’ll see that Christmas looks a bit different. There is no longer time to decorate the tree together. There are less houses clad in the lights. The book about stubborn little Sarah is nowhere to be found.

But no matter how different Christmas may look or how much you think you’ve outgrown traditions, these things will always ring true:

Christmas is about the Father giving his Son. It is about the Son stepping into time and creation as a babe to give His life so we could have life. Jesus said,“I came that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

It is about giving hope to the hopeless and shining a light in the darkness.

Christmas is about Jesus, and Jesus is about hope.

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