All about traditions this Christmas

Over the weekend, Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church revived an old Christmas tradition?door-to-door caroling.

Apparently, years ago, the Ebenfeld youth group gathered in Hillsboro following the church?s annual Christmas Eve program to spread some Christmas cheer. The teenagers, along with the youth leaders, caroled around the community all through the night.

Around 2 a.m., the group was fed, and then the festivities continued. The caroling ended pre-dawn with a meal.

Now, being a mother of two small children, I?m thankful the revised edition of Ebenfeld caroling did not include pulling an all-nighter. My nights are interrupted enough, thank you very much. But I?m excited about the prospect of making the all-church caroling a holiday tradition for our family.

I?m all about traditions this Christmas. And I think that comes from having a daughter old enough to participate. I?m pulling in some old family favorites, but my husband and I are also trying to incorporate new activities into the mix.

Both my husband?s family and my family decorate for Christmas the weekend following Thanksgiving. We have adopted the same timeline, although this year our decorating was modified. Why, you ask? (Or maybe you don?t, but I?m going to tell you anyway).

We recently sold our house in Hillsboro, and are in the process of moving into one of the family farm houses south of Hillsboro. But our house in town sold so quickly (no complaints here!), that we are currently living at my husband?s parents? house in their basement.

And so, as far as Christmas decorations go, we put up our Christmas tree and our stockings, but left the remaining decor in storage tubs. I miss my twinkly, red and white outside lights. And my Nativity. And my candles. But I?m sure that a little distance will only make my heart grow fonder. And next year I will have a fireplace to add into the Christmasy-mix?oh, the anticipation.

Our new tradition: Ever since having our first-born daughters within six weeks of each other, my good friend Angela and I have started baking Christmas cookies together. This year (our third year of baking) we watched in awe as our 2-year-olds decorated cookies?something we could only anticipate last year. And next year we will have two more willing ?helpers? in our 1-year-olds.

But, my husband and I also want to be careful about adding mere busyness to an already eventful season. We want our girls to see purpose in Christmas. Not just the stuff to do, stuff to eat, stuff to get. We want our girls to understand the significance of the party?that God sent His one and only Son to Earth to live among us. To teach us. To love us. To save us.

A couple weeks ago, I heard an endearing story about a 4-year-old boy. The boy had been taught that Christmas is the holiday Christians use to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And so, while at a mall with his family, the boy took note of all the children lined up to see Santa. Instead of begging his mother to allow him to stand in line, too, the boy asked, ?Where?s the line to see Jesus? If Christmas is a time to celebrate his birth, why don?t we see him more??

As a Christian, I can complain about the commercialization of Christmas. I can boycott those ?anti-Christmas? stores? you know, the ones that say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. I can mourn the fact the world isn?t showcasing the true meaning of Christmas.

But the Christmas story isn?t the world?s story to tell. It?s the church?s story. It?s my story.

So I choose to stand in the line to see Jesus this Christmas. And that?s one tradition I hope my children will choose as well.

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