Saturday, December 6, 2008


We have a few traditions here on the Hilltop around Christmastime. We have traditions other times of the year, but for this post we’ll stick with the Christmas traditions. Otherwise this might take all day.

We do Advent and that entails a wreath and lighting of candles daily, and nightly scripture readings. We bake and decorate cookies for the neighbors and make gifts for Sunday School teachers and other influential people in our lives. The weekend before Christmas we have hot coco and drive around and look at Christmas lights. We also read a special book that has coordinating ornaments that explain with scripture the various names of Jesus. (Adornaments) This lasts the last 12 days until Christmas. We do Proclamation Ornaments nightly along with our Advent readings starting on Dec 1st. We hang the proclamation ornaments up as we read them. On one side of the ornament it has an Old Testament prophecy scripture, and on the other side it has the scripture explaining the New Testament fulfillment of that prophecy.

This is our Advent Wreath

This is where we hang our Proclamation Ornaments.

This is where we hang our Adornaments after we read them.

I don’t like to hang them on the tree because they get lost in the chaos of tree ornaments, and also, I don’t like to have a timetable by which we must have a tree to hang all these things on.

I used to always put a little stuffed animal in the kids stocking every year, but we became overrun with stuffed animals so I tabled that one.

I think I might be a little over the top with the tradition. See I don’t remember any Christmas traditions at all in my family growing up. Well, except the sheet cake. I love the sheet cake, but no real meaningful traditions. Nothing that I felt like meant something. Not something that made me identify with my family. Something that made me say 'We’re the ________ Family and that’s what we do'. I want to provide that for my kids. When someone says Christmas, I want my kids to think ‘We’re the _____ Family and we always do this or that.’ I want them to want to take some of these things into their own families and carry them on. I guess I want Christmas to mean something. We have a lot of traditions surrounding other holidays and special occasions as well, and I think it’s a family identity thing for me. I want my kids to grow up thinking; on birthdays we did this… On Easter my family does … I want them to identify with The Family. (And I don't mean that in the strange and Mafiaesque way it sounded.)

Now don’t get me wrong, we do all the scripture readings because I want them to understand the eternal significance of Christmas. Emmanuel; God with us. The biblical training that his behind the tradition is very important and I don’t want to discount that, but I also love the tradition of it all.

Sometimes tradition can feel like a burden. I didn’t have time last year to do the homemade Christmas cookie and decorating and the kids were very disappointed.

Tradition does not bring salvation. We don’t become Christians because we participate in religious traditions, I know that and my children know that. We are saved because of the Lords redeeming work on the cross and our acceptance of that gift. But tradition helps us remember.

I love tradition.

What are some of your family’s favorite traditions?


Sheri said...

No religious traditions per se. But we have always given pajamas on Christmas Eve. And we do a lot of game playing, book reading, curling up and watching movies together as a family in December (more than the rest of the year.)

I suppose religion (I think I spelled that wrong) wise it would be something like reading the story of Christ's birth and just really emphasizing the reason for the holiday.

Oh and of course: something they want, something they need, something to play with, something to read...when it comes to gift giving.

Aunt B said...

We do pajamas on Christmas Eve too. We also make a chain of fun things to do from December 1st until Christmas Eve. It helps the time go by better until Christmas. This year we are going to do more of the advent wreaths, and stuff like that.

Tonya said...

LOVE the adornaments and proclamation ornaments!!! Where did you get them?

We do the Advent wreath every year. Tree up Thanksgiving weekend (and we chop it down - see my blog). I can't think (or type) right now.

I grew up with pizza on Xmas Eve and my dad reading the story of baby Jesus out of Luke every year. My parents aren't huge on traditions - they seem to change what they do frequently! My husband, on the other hand, is HUGE into traditions. I'm glad for it. We move around, some things need to be constant. Ya know?