When I was a kid, we had some pretty specific Christmas traditions: on Christmas Eve, we would go to Blockbuster and each of us three kids would get to pick out one movie. Then we would all go home. My dad would make CORN DIP and my mom would make CHRISTMAS SURPRISE DRINK – a feast we only got on Christmas Eve. We’d watch each of our movies and one-by-one drift off to sleep. Our parents would put us to bed eventually and we’d wake up on Christmas morning, rushing out to the living room to see what Santa had brought us.
It was a great tradition… until my parents divorced.
Then we had two Christmases – which parent had us on Christmas changed every year. My parents tried to keep the traditions alive, but having Corn Dip twice in a week felt weird, and Dad didn’t make Christmas Surprise Drink.
Our Christmas traditions changed.
They changed again when each of us kids moved out of the house, and again when we each got married. We learned the recipes for Corn Dip and Christmas Surprise Drink, so we can have them whenever we want.
These days, we more often do Christmas in July than anything else, and we have a whole new set of traditions: each of the kids gets a children’s book. We read the Christmas story, and we read the kids’ book. And maybe we sing Silent Night.
No matter how traditional our traditions are, they change.
The one constant in our world is change, and that goes for Christmas, too. We often face the reality of change with anger, fear or worry. We long for the good ole days, a simpler time. We’re torn by the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Maybe we have a new relationship or a new job with a new, less-holiday-friendly schedule. Maybe someone’s not going to be by the tree this year like they once were. Maybe someone moved out, or welcomed a new life. Maybe things are looking up this Christmas and the only stress you have is the stress of change.
So whatever your Christmas traditions look like, no matter how old they are (even if they’re brand new!), we’re going to meet the Christ who is the eternal center of all those traditions.