A Tradition of Faith
I once heard a father describe a typical Christmas morning in his household. He said his children always got up early in the morning and hurried to the tree to tear into their presents. They went through them as fast as they could, not stopping to express appreciation for their gifts. They tossed them aside and grabbed for more. The father said that watching that depressing scene left him feeling like a materialistic enabler. Consequently his boys and girls missed the true meaning of Christ’s birthday.
I’m happy to say that my parents tried to keep the focus on the real reason for the season when my brother and I were growing up. Yes, there were toys and visits to Santa, but we never lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. My parents made certain of that.
My friend Karen has done the same. As a mother of six, she prioritizes the birth of Christ in her family. One of the ways she does this is by setting up a nativity scene in early December and purposely leaving the manger empty. Then on Christmas morning, one of her children is given a special package to open. It has the baby Jesus inside. That child places Jesus in the manger as the family sings “Happy Birthday” to the King of kings!
Another great tradition was described in an article I once read. The writer shared that when Christmas is over, and it comes time to toss the tree (a sad thought, I know), her father chops off two pieces of the trunk and saves them until Easter. When the season arrives, he nails the pieces together to form a cross and drives them into the backyard lawn. The cross stands to remind his family of the connection between Christ’s birth and His resurrection.
The Dobsons have our own meaningful Christmas traditions. Each one is carried out in a spirit of joy for that blessed event when Jesus came to this earth as a tiny baby to save us from our sins. It is because of that great act of love that we celebrate Christmas and Easter in their seasons. The friends, food, and festivities that surround our holidays are an expression of praise to God for “his indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15). I’m grateful to my parents for never losing sight of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection.
(excerpt from Welcome To Our Table)
Shirley & Danae Dobson: As the wife of Focus on the Family founder, Dr. James Dobson, Shirley has devoted her life to the ministry and embraced many opportunities to entertain guests. From dignitaries to backdoor neighbors to the family, Shirley has opened her heart and spread the table for all. Danae, James and Shirley’s daughter, remembers the gatherings and lovingly recalls what her mother taught her about being kind and extending hospitality. Now mother and daughter have gathered the stories of those celebrations and get-togethers to inspire others.