Thursday, December 21, 2006

What Is Your Favorite Christmas Tradition?

Practically everyone who celebrates Christmas has over the years developed certain traditions that enhance the meaningfulness of the season. For some, these traditions are an attempt to reconnect with or recreate memories from childhood. Some establish new Christmas traditions as a way of breaking free from the past. Some develop traditions designed to move their focus from the materialistic and/or consumeristic aspects of the Christmas season to something more important. Regardless of the reason for our traditions, they are a very important part of how we celebrate Christmas.

The first Christmas after we were married, Maria and I established a very special Christmas tradition. In the waning moments of Christmas Eve we turn off all the lights except for those on our Christmas tree, and we just sit there in the dimness thinking about the miracle of Christmas. Sometimes Maria sings a Christmas carol or two; "Silent Night" is usually one of the ones sung. Then at midnight we take the Bible and by the light of the Christmas tree we read aloud the Christmas story from Luke 2 and Matthew 2. Even in the years that we have been away from home and didn't have a tree to provide the ambiance, we always read the Christmas story at midnight. In 12 years of marriage we've never missed a year. This simple tradition allows us to retreat from the busyness of the season, the travel and the hauling of gifts to and from our parents' homes, and focus on what it's all about.

What is the most meaningful Christmas tradition that you and your family have established? What makes this tradition so special or meaningful to you?