Can Traditions Cause Holidays Angst?

  • Christmas Eve or Christmas morning for presents?
  • Early church service or candlelight service?
  • Santa presents wrapped or not wrapped?
  • Santa or no Santa?
  • Orange in the bottom of the Christmas stocking or not?
  • Her parent’s house or his?

Some co-workers were recently sharing the little conflicts over tradition that can become stressors, or even worse, battlegrounds.

It is ironic, but true, that a holiday that emphasizes God’s loving gift to us can become a point of argument.

At SPLS we love traditions, including our annual student-led Advent Services and our Christmas Angels sponsorship of 24 foster children. These children will get many generous gifts this year thanks to the students and families of our school.

But, if we really think about it, traditions can often cover up or overshadow the core reason for celebration.

Have you thought about your family traditions and how many, if any, really point children and loved ones toward the one who loves them? The one who gave up so much to take on humanity and dwell among us? The one whose birth was the beginning of God’s plan that would lead to the nails and cross and the empty tomb?

Some families read the Gospel of Luke, the second chapter as a family before opening presents.

Some families gather around the piano and sing traditional Christmas hymns and carols (that was the Boyd tradition). Today, they might sing to YouTube Karaoke videos!

Some families make it a point to serve others in God’s name at Christmas.

Some families prayerfully and respectfully put together a nativity scene with lessons or prayers as each person or animal or cradle is added.

Some families have been daily opening doors on an Advent calendar and reading the scripture passages there.

Some families keep an Advent wreath with candles that are lit daily and with a new one added each week of Advent. The lighting is accompanied by a family devotion.

I would bet that many SPLS families could come up with additional ideas (maybe with a peek at Pinterest or Google).

Perhaps we can agree to disagree on a real or artificial tree, but can we all agree that the rightful place of Jesus is in center of Christmas traditions?

In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd

Back to top