Jesus at the Center of It All - Nick Ahmed

Our family has a longstanding Christmas tradition that was started by my great grandmother. Coming from an Italian background, my great grandmother would wake up really early Christmas morning to make homemade raviolis for the family. They are incredible and we’d look forward to this every year. When she wasn’t able to do it anymore, the family pitched in and made the raviolis together.

With COVID this year, our extended family may not be able to all get together to carry on this tradition, but I know that our immediate family will be able to celebrate and continue to develop our own traditions. For us, what’s important is being together as a family, watching the snow come down while we celebrate the birth of Christ. This isn’t just a one-day celebration, we like to take the whole month to make this count. 

With our culture fixating on many aspects of the holiday that aren’t necessary to the original Christmas story, it’s important for us to be intentional about focusing on Jesus and His birth. With young kids at home, we don’t want to deny the fun that can happen at Christmas, so we try to incorporate the fun of the Santa story into the Gospel. It may not be directly related to the Gospel, but we like to tell our kids that Santa is a friend of Jesus and brings three gifts to each child just like the wise men brought gifts to Jesus at His birth. We make birthday cakes for Jesus and find creative ways to foster fun during the Christmas season while making sure Jesus stays at the center of it all. 

Christmas without extended family will be different, but slowing down isn’t a bad thing. For some, I know this season of staying home and away from others has been hard. For me, I am enjoying the intentional time I am able to spend with my family of five. I enjoy sitting on the floor with my wife and kids, knowing there’s nowhere else I’d rather go and nowhere I have to be. It’s an exercise in being present each moment with those who mean the most to me.

As I continue to pray that God would help me do a better job of being consistently present where He has me, I am gaining trust in Him, living the life He’s given me while knowing that He’s in full control of every aspect of it. 

— Nick Ahmed, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop

Nick Ahmed is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Nick’s Increase profile here.

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