When I was a kid, my family celebrated Christmas at our house every year, and then we’d go to my aunt’s house to have a second Christmas with our extended family. I loved getting together with everyone at Christmastime.
We don’t do that anymore because our families are too big now and all over the place, so instead we have started building our own family traditions. My immediate family would always do a treasure hunt with our gifts — one gift leading to a clue for the next gift. Now with our own kids, we started a tradition where we sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus on Christmas day.
Our youngest isn’t old enough to grasp the meaning and significance of Christmas, but our older son is just starting to grasp it. We read the story and try to explain what it means as it relates to our faith in Jesus Christ. And wherever we are, whether at home or at a relative’s house, we make Christmas a big deal.
I remember being a kid who just wanted to get gifts, even though I knew what Christmas was all about. You get to a point where that changes and you realize how special it is to celebrate the person and birth of our Savior. To me, Christmas and Easter are cornerstones of remembering the things God has done and is doing for us. These are seasons to take time to remember who Christ is, and that He came down as a baby to give us life with Him. Making that the forefront of our minds is a huge priority in my family. Christmas is not just about the materialistic presents we can bless each other with, it’s about what has been given to us for eternity that remains the focus.
It seems to get harder each year to drown out the noise of materialism and busyness of life. But I know I’m in control of what is of importance to me. Throughout the Bible, we see God’s people intentionally remembering the moments when God rescues them. I think of the Israelites being led by God into the wilderness, and they put up a pillar at the Red Sea after God saved them from their pursuers. Time and time again they put up a memorial whenever God rescued them.
I see Christmas and Easter as modern pillars. It takes a shift of perspective to turn from the materialistic, worldly mindset that has been placed on these holidays, but when you become a follower of Jesus, you realize that the things of the world are no longer of importance. God sent His Son, in the form of a baby, to rescue the world from its sins. What could be of greater importance, and more worthy of a celebration, than that?
— Steven Souza, MLB outfielder
Steven Souza is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Steven’s Increase profile here.
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