Three Ways to Start Meaningful Holiday Traditions

It’s no secret why people say, “Christmas is such a busy time of year.” There are even
songs written about the rush of activity during the holidays. Finding ways to slow down can allow us to imprint family values and a Christ-centered worldview in the hearts of our families. Here are three ways to start meaningful holiday traditions.

Are there beliefs more foundational to our Christian faith than the birth of Jesus Christ—
in which God became man—and the Resurrection—through which Jesus conquered sin
and death? The celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior should not be squeezed out
with a long “to do” list. This season should be slowly and intentionally inhaled, breathed
in as the miracle of incarnation.
What an amazing opportunity we have as parents to help our children experience what
Christmas is really about. Focusing on why Jesus came and the character He embodied is
well worth the effort.

Help Your Children Experience the Character of Christmas

Here are three things you can do with your family to start meaningful traditions, helping
them experience the character of Jesus and the true nature of Christmas.

Be a servant. (Acts 3:13)

Jesus was a servant, and we are instructed to serve one another. The opportunities
to serve during the holiday season are endless. You can usually find an
opportunity through your local church, but there are always non-profits in the
community looking for volunteers. Find a cause and volunteer one of your most
valuable assets—your time. It will be the highlight of your child’s holiday season.
Reflect with them on the way that Jesus, God becoming man, was a servant-leader
to us all.

Be generous. (Romans 12:8)

Jesus was generous, and we are instructed to live generously. During the holiday
season money can be tight. Being generous might be a “stretch.” Of course,
generosity is not all about money. Generosity is about doing or giving a little
more than is comfortable—over and above. For your child, it might mean
spending a little less on themselves and spending a little more on someone they
usually don’t buy a gift for, like a sibling. It may mean giving their friend an extra
turn with a favorite toy, or the bigger cookie on the plate. It may mean watching
something on TV their brother/sister wants to watch instead of their favorite
program. Or, maybe it is having PB&J for dinner one night, so your family can
afford to take dinner to someone who needs it more. Even if you can afford an
extra meal, the experience for your child of making a sacrifice for the benefit of
someone else will be worth much more than the meal. There are opportunities to
be generous every day, and that is one of the underlying values of this season.

Love like Jesus did, unconditionally. (John 13:1)

To love unconditionally is to love even when it is not deserved, to the end—that is
how Jesus loves us. Jesus became a man so He could defeat death, and so that we
could live in relationship with God. There is no greater love. If we can help our
children to understand the kind of love Jesus has for us just by becoming human
and lying in that manger, then we will have imparted a priceless gift to them. One
way to help our children understand this unconditional love is to understand
undeserved forgiveness. Help them think of a person in their life that you can pray
for together. Someone who has hurt their feelings, or just someone they don’t
understand. Pray for that person with your child, every day, and see what God
does in their heart.

You may have other traditions or practices that help your family to slow down the
season and focus on the depth of its meaning. Think through those traditions,
taking time to teach your children about why they’re important, and why having a
Christ-centered holiday truly matters.