The weekend after Thanksgivng the celebration begins...Christmas decorations placed carefully here and there until the whole house is filled with reminders of the season. But every year the nativity is the first thing brought out and put up. When the girls were still living at home, youngest daughter was the one to carefully get it out of it's box and wrappings and place it on the antique table. The girls are grown and in homes of their own, but it is still the first "decoration" of the season...a very small way to remember that it's all about Him.
This year, we have started a new tradition. We call it a Jesse's Branch. It is an adaptation of the Advent tradition of a Jesse Tree. On a branch, each day leading up to Christmas, we hang a handmade tag with a scriptural title of Jesus, with the scripture reference written on the back. Families in our church are using this project in their family devotions, reading the scriptures with their children, hanging the tag on the branch, reviewing the titles...little voices saying, "Jesus, You are the King of Kings, Jesus, You are Our Shepherd..." Then, we have encouraged that everyone post that name and scripture as their daily Facebook status...spreading the good news of who Jesus is, and reminding others of the Christ of Christmas.
I think the most important tradition to our family is one my husband started years ago. In the days leading up to Christmas he prays over, and then writes out a blessing for each of our girls, (which now includes their families). On Christmas morning, the first gift given is his blessing as he reads them aloud, and then gives each girl a printed copy to keep. ( I keep a copy too, using these blessings as prayer targets to pray over our family. ) It is always a time where tears are shed, as Daddy's love and blessing is spoken.
I am grateful beyond words that our family knows, loves, and celebrates the Christ, not only every December, but every day.