As I was looking at my oldest daughter, 4 year old, I was thinking back to Christmas past. About all the family traditions we had when we were younger. I think its plain awesome that I get to do the same thing for my girls.
When I was a kid we had a wide variety of “country” things we did for Christmas. Dad and I used to go to the woods and shoot mistletoe out of the trees with a .22 rifle. We would get together with our family every Christmas eve and exchange gifts. We would always have a great meal, with steaks, baked potatoes, salads, and rolls (we still do this to this day). Someone would always read the Christmas story in Matthew every Christmas Eve.
We do new things with our girls but we do honor tradition as well. We started the Elf on the Shelf tradition this year. We decorate our tree with ornaments that help us remember Jesus when we look at our tree. We drive to Evansville, IN every year for the Fantasy of Lights and drink hot chocolate as we enjoy the lights. We gather around the tree every Christmas Eve and read the Christmas Story in Matthew and we put baby Jesus in the manger before we go to bed. We also sprinkle reindeer food around the outside of our house so Santa can find it.
I also remember Christmas traditions we had in church when I was young. The hanging of the greens that the kids did every year putting the ornaments on the tree. The advent candle lighting every Sunday until Christmas. Santa visiting and handing out bags of fruit, gum and candy to the kids. And when I was in youth group, going caroling to all of the elderly and shut ins of our church. I remember that with very fond memories. How their eyes would light up that the “young people” of the church would come and see them.
This year I was at a disadvantage coming into my youth group. I was the new guy and had a years worth of youth ministry to plan out in a month. So we did not have any new or old Christmas traditions that we did this year. Next year though I’ve already planned a caroling trip, handing out hot chocolate at the Christmas parade, and other ways to remember that Christmas is about giving! Christ hung on a cross 2000 years ago and gave us the ultimate gift! Eternal life and a closer relationship with God! Salvation is a wonderful thing and let’s not be a scrooge this year! Let us share that gift with those around us!
I am also curious! What Christmas Traditions if any do you have with your youth group? I would love to hear them! Email me when you can your traditions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week I will post some of them on here as guest posts! Merry Christmas from Pastor Kev and family! God Bless my friends and just keep swimming!