When we began having children, everything changed, especially the holidays. Wendy started it all when she came on the scene in … I can’t tell you the year—it’s a secret. But the picture I have included in this post was taken just a few days before our first Thanksgiving with her. She wasn’t even a year old.
Our family has celebrated many Thanksgivings and Christmases since then, and this year I am the proud Papa of seven grandchildren with two more on the way. The little girl in the picture above now has three of her own.
Nobody needs to be reminded how fast life goes by after children arrive, but as parents there are things that we have to do in the midst of the chaos of life to establish traditions in our families.
In the past I’ve spoken about one Christmas season tradition we have called the Christmas Troll. Doesn’t everyone have a Christmas Troll that moves around the house and hides? To set the story straight, our trolls were around long before the elf on the shelf fad came along. You might say we started that!
There are things we can do that will become traditions in our families for generations to come. If your budget is limited that shouldn’t be a problem. There is no need for expensive projects when a Christmas Troll or something else will do. For example, many years we would buy one new box of tree decorations as a family each Christmas season. It may not seem like much, but everyone enjoyed it and looked forward to it, and it was all we could afford.
Of course, it’s important as parents to keep our kids centered on the true meaning of the Christmas season—the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is one of the most significant events of all time and we celebrate it as a planet. Not everyone has the same spirit, however, and that needs attention. Unfortunately, there has been a great deal of commercialism centering on Christmas related to the retail market and especially the Internet. There are many different views on this subject, and at times it becomes a heated topic of discussion.
I have recently been asked my opinion on this by a number of people, partly because I have been a dad for a long time, and partly because … I don’t know what the other part is because of. Anyway, I do have an opinion.
As Christ followers, we have the responsibility to influence our children as well as others on the true meaning of Christmas. I know that to some, this means no Santa, no traditional Christmas stuff, and in some cases, no Christmas tree or decorations. In fact, for many people even the participation in activities that relate to Christmas from a worldly viewpoint is taboo. Although I understand and respect those values, I do not share the strictest ones. We need to make certain our kids know fully, at an early age, that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior. We need to be clear on why Jesus was the only one who could die for our sins, and save us from eternal punishment in hell. I’m shocked sometimes how much my little grandchildren know about the true meaning of the birth of Christ.
Our children must understand (from us) that Christmas is first and foremost a holy day of salvation and grace, and a miracle in itself. As they become older, it is our responsibility as parents and grandparents to teach them that God’s plan of redemption began a long time ago, and that He will carry it to completion regardless of how we force Him out of schools and every public setting.
I do believe that some Christmas traditions that are fun and silly are okay—like the Christmas Troll, decorations on a tree, or miniature trains on a tiny track by the fireplace. Yes, it is my opinion that these things are okay as long as they are kept in proper perspective. And that is our responsibility also.
Christmas traditions are important in our family, and no one wonders what the day is really about. But I am not an expert—I’m just a Dad … and a Papa.
Question: Do you agree with me? What is your view? I really do want to know.