Christmas Two Thousand Years Later
by Cindy Woodsmall, author of The Christmas Singing
Based on Christ’s earthly beginning, we’ve garnered some Christmas traditions that still go on today. Over the years we’ve added to those traditions: hanging stockings, decorating a tree, putting out beautiful lights, sending cards, enjoying candy canes, inhaling the delicious aromas of holiday baking, taking secretive shopping trips, and trying to get excited children to sit through the Christmas cantata.
Those traditions warm our hearts (and sometimes weary our bodies). Along with, and often through, these treasured family traditions we pass down faith, hope, and love to generations to come. Our lives have changed drastically since we were children, even in recent years. Technology has swooped in and we’ve grabbed it up, enjoying each new item and the ease of the freedom it brings. We have to change with the times. Even the Old Order Amish understand this, yet they still travel by horse and carriage and live without electricity.
The question becomes, what things will we refuse to let go of?
When I was young, homes had one corded phone, possibly two if the house had an upstairs. Most televisions received three to six stations, and someone had to get up and go to the set to turn the channel or adjust the volume or the antenna. The commercials bragged that shows would be presented “in living color!” I think I was a teen by the time we had a color set.
The average family rarely ate a meal outside of someone’s home—either a relative’s or a neighbor’s.
I don’t remember going to a restaurant until I was sixteen years old and had a job. Even when we were on a trip away from home, my mother packed a picnic basket that lasted for several meals.
Mom made our clothes and canned food for the winter from the bounty of the summer garden. My parents were born at the beginning of the Depression and weren’t free of its effects until they were nearly through high school.
I’m dating myself, aren’t I? That’s okay. I don’t mind. I can hear my mother’s voice inside my heart saying I’ve earned my wrinkles and gray hair, and I don’t care who knows my age. I’m grateful to have been born and grateful to thrive or at least survive every day of the time God gives me.
My life isn’t like my parents’ lives were. I’m sure yours isn’t like what your parents’ were. In some ways it’s better, easier, more convenient. In other ways, it’s harder, more stressful and fast-paced.
The fabric with which we were made might be looking rather threadbare.
Traditions help us pass our hope on to the next generation, despite the constant changes that alter our daily lives. Holiday traditions mold us, and years later we draw strength from them. Having some things that we do each year gives us an opportunity to strike gold (in the heart or mind; spiritual or emotional). When loved ones are ministered to, they can tuck the memory of it into their hearts.
Whatever traditions fit your family, you will be grateful later on that you took the time, energy, and forethought to establish them and keep them.