Do you have Christmas traditions? Things you do year after year? Things that maybe your adult children now do too?
We are a family of traditions. My oldest is 46 and my youngest is 27. And, for the most part, everything is still the same. Regardless of what house or what country we have lived in.
The Shine Family Christmas Eve Traditions –
- Santa presents go under the tree in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping. Younger. Older. It does not matter. They gotta be asleep.
- I used to wrap my Santa presents in white tissue paper so the kids knew which ones were from Santa but when my kids got older I began to wrap them in regular paper. I bought about 20 rolls of the same paper so I could use that paper for about five years!
- Traditionally on Christmas Eve, we have soup and salad for dinner and cookies for dessert. The table is set. The cloth napkins are ironed and the candles are lit.
- I remember once, when my sister brought her boyfriend for dinner, he thought the soup was the first course and couldn’t figure out why no other food appeared on the table. That poor boy was hungry!
- We also read stories. We have a huge box of Christmas books and we pick out our favorites. Typically the favorites are the same 2-3 books every year. My son will read one in his English accent. My daughter is usually so tired at that point that when she starts reading she starts giggling uncontrollably and can’t stop and we just sit there and wait and think she’s a lunatic!
- We talk about the birth of Jesus and why we celebrate the season. Because without Him there would not be a Christmas Eve, we would still be wallowing in our sins with no hope for our future.
- I usually fall asleep after the 3rd book.
- Cookies and milk are set out for Santa. (I think this year it will be almond milk). Carrots for the reindeer. I have a special plate and milk jug that we use that I made with my Cricut Maker. My husband will take a bite out of everything in the middle of the night and drink the milk.
And we will do this tonight. Even though my youngest is 27 years old. Even though she is the only child who will be here with us this year. Because, it’s just what we do.
We prepare on Christmas Eve….awaiting the arrival of Santa.
I have been thinking about Mary and that first Christmas Eve….
And what she did to prepare on Christmas eve…awaiting the arrival of her son…our Messiah. Pregnant and riding on a donkey going from one town to the other just because there was a decree (Luke 2:4). Was she just frustrated because she couldn’t stay where she was currently living until the baby was born? Was she upset because she couldn’t be with her family? Was she so uncomfortable sitting on the donkey for weeks on end? I know I would have been! You too?
Or was she joyful because she knew that she carried the Messiah. The King. Our Savior. God's plan. The one and only who could save us from ourselves.
And, as what we now know as Christmas Day, approaches…
Mary is ready to give birth any minute. What did she think when Joseph told her there was no room at the inn? What was she feeling? Did she cry? Was she disappointed? Frustrated? Resigned?
On that first Christmas Eve did she hang onto all the scripture about her baby boy? Since all of the foretelling of Jesus's birth was in the Old Testament, she would have been raised reading and studying those scriptures (Zechariah 9:9 and Isaiah 7:14).
Did she know that her baby was to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)? Did she know that he was to come from the house of David because that is what the Scripture said?
I can only assume that she knew what was going to happen…in an abstract kind of way. But, did that make it any easier? I really have NO idea. What I do know is this –
Mary believed God…
She said ‘I am the Lord's servant. Let it be to me as you have said.' (Luke 1:38) She trusted that He would protect her and take care of her.
Mary's fiancee, Joseph, did not divorce her (back in the day, being engaged was the same commitment as marriage (Matthew 1:18-24)).
Joseph found a stable with a place for Mary to give birth to the King. They were surrounded by farm animals. Was the hay dirty and smelly? Was it dark in the stable? Was there anyone there to help them? Were they terrified?
And then I think…that the peace of God, which is beyond all understanding, guarded their hearts. They were content. They were happy. They were joyful. They were excited.
They were with God. Welcoming His son into the world. The son that came for YOU and me. All on that first Christmas Eve.
Praise the Lord. Selah.
Feel free to read the following:
Mary Did You Know?
Is the Message of Christmas Good News?
The Unwrapped Gift
This Christmas eve sit back and remember that God loves you so much that he sent his son for YOU. He will wrap his arms around you…and take care of you…always.