by Mark G. Holbrook

Most families have traditions. Some of our fondest memories are of the special things we enjoy as families at Christmas time—apple pie, looking at lights, a candlelit Christmas Eve service.

The Holbrook family has lots of traditions around Christmas, including Christmas stockings for all 14 grandkids strung up the stairs at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Perhaps our most meaningful tradition—for the past decade—is a special gift Cindy and I give to our kids and their families. We choose a Scripture passage that Cindy prints out on nice paper and present to each family on Christmas morning. Our copy hangs on the wall in our family room amidst all our family photos. It’s the first thing I tend to notice when I enter the room, and it’s our prayer for our family for the entire year.  

Of course the most meaningful tradition at Christmas isn’t a tradition at all, or at least we hope it’s not just that. It’s the worshipful celebration of the birth of the Lord Jesus. For some, the advent tradition has taken on special meaning as a powerful way to remember Christ’s birth—the Incarnation—during the two weeks leading up to Christmas day. God calls us to remember, and to use symbols that help us remember His faithfulness and grace. 

Traditions are good things. They bind us together in special ways. They help us remember. The tradition of giving gifts at Christmas does all this, and it also reminds us of God’s good gifts to us—especially the greatest gift of all…

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son….

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