12/08/2011

the heart of holiday traditions

me & my brothers and sisters, Christmas 1988

as we begin to count down the days until Christmas, as i watch people stretch their budgets and burn the candles at both ends, the importance of holiday traditions beats strong in my heart.

as Moms, it's in our unspoken job description to create our family's holiday traditions or to keep up the traditions that we grew up with. don't you sometimes feel like if you didn't do it, nobody else would? that might be a little bit true.

but let me encourage you, friend. holiday traditions don't have to be stressful. or expensive. or difficult. or time consuming. or dreadful. or exhausting.

let me encourage you...if motherhood is your calling, then being the key-holder to our family's holiday traditions is your privilege.

do this with me: picture that unofficial job description you have for yourself as Mom - the mental list of responsibilities that you just do becauseyou'reTheMomthat'swhy - that list that includes laundry, dishes, grocery shop, diapers, match socks, and somewhere down the list it says Holiday Traditions. got it? now, i hereby grant you permission to take Holiday Traditions off of that list and move it to that other mental list you have - you know the one - the list of Fun Things You Get To Do Now That You're A Mom.


you alone were made by God to be the Mom in your family. make the most of it! let's take back holiday traditions and make them fun, relaxing, and enjoyable for ourselves and our families.


because that's just it. the heart of holiday traditions is where our families have fun, feel loved, and make cherished memories to last generations.
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you weren't made to stress over a pie that didn't set, or the wrapping paper that doesn't match, or the in-laws coming to town. i'm pretty sure God doesn't want you busting your family's budget on the latest toys or gadgets, or losing sleep and patience over trying to squeeze one more holiday party into your calendar.


let's get to the heart of our holiday traditions and make them meaningful, memorable, and enjoyable. here's how i plan on doing so...

  1. keep it simple. we don't need more stuff. we need more Jesus. less going and doing, more family and friends. simplify Christmas. does that sound impossible? read this series. and this article.
  2. make the most of it. use what you have. the days are "evil" (Eph 5:15) and God warns us we don't have a lot of time to mess with things of this world. (Luke 12:29, Matt 6:19 to name a few) you have a home, food to eat, a place to rest, and a family that loves you. may that be enough, and give Him thanks for it often.
  3. if it doesn't fit, forget it. cut out traditions that you've always done or your husband's family has always done, but don't fit your family right now. be okay with letting go of (even if temporarily) the activities and customs that aren't right for your life. adapt, adjust, and tweak your traditions until you love everything about them.
  4. give God all the glory. prayerfully consider your holiday traditions and how they glorify God. He is, after all, the reason for the season. everything comes from God, everything happens through God, everything ends up with God, so give Him all the glory and praise in all things. (Romans 11:36, 1 Cor 10:31, 1 Thes 5:18)
for further encouragement for keeping the heart in your holiday traditions, please read Teri Lynne's series Have Yourself a Mary Little Christmas.

i am praying that all of your holiday traditions are heartfelt, memorable, and enjoyable!

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