By Kevin & Justyn Lang, Contributing Writers
I remember being newly married and approaching our first Christmas as a couple. As a young lad and lass, we had both been privy to stereotypical American Christmases:
1) Buy more gifts than you can afford.
2) Turn on Christmas carols.
3) Eat more food than humanly possible over the course of 12 hours, and possibly at 2 or 3 homes.
4) Check to see what Santa brought.
5) Act wildly excited because you know that person couldn’t afford to buy you this gift anyway.
As a young couple we both wanted to make Christmas special, so we looked at our past traditions to incorporate what we thought best (creamed/pickled herring for Kevin, apple-cider caramel cake for Justyn) and nixed what we both didn’t absolutely love (it’s just frustrating to find the pickle anyways, and who really needs a creepy guy dressed in red sneaking around the house, eating all the cookies).
What we did find as a newly married couple was an appreciation for making each Christmas special and Christ-oriented. Here are a few ideas for meaningful holiday traditions that you might want to consider incorporating into your homes.
Meaningful Christmas Traditions
1) Christmas is a celebration of the most selfless man who ever walked on this planet. Make the season of giving about giving to those who need the gifts. Our newest holiday tradition is to support Heifer International. But maybe your time is a more valuable gift, so consider volunteering on Christmas or Christmas Eve. Make it a priority to give to “the least of these” in love.
2) Food is special in our house. We cook together. There are a few things that we save just for Christmas every year and look forward to all year long. Just make sure that you also clean together!
3) Most of our early Christmases were very lean. A car would break, we would be moving to a new apartment, our car would break again, etc. Because of this, homemade gifts became a regular part of our Christmases. The homemade “1 free massage” coupons, the hand-painted train decoration, and the odd poem became the gold-star standard of gift giving. Ten years later Kevin still makes coupons, and Justyn still paints. It’s a true gift, that no one else can understand, let alone give.
4) Mistletoe should be taken seriously. Ask yourself, “is the entryway really the best place to hang this?”
5) “Forsake not the fellowship of the saints” is a serious commandment. Finding others that share in the faith and can join us in giving honor and praise to God for his ultimate gift is vitally important. Make it a habit and a tradition to seek out and celebrate God’s gift together on Christmas.
6) Observing Christ’s birth is a holiday that is meant to be celebrated, and we make an occasion out of decorating for it! We turn on the carols, we make cider and hot chocolate, we play The Christmas Carol (The Muppet Christmas Carol now, with the kids), and we plan for lots of snacking with an easy meal. If we’re going to treat Christmas as a special day, let’s make sure that it bears the mark of a special day!
7) We read the story of Christ’s birth from the book of Luke. We remind ourselves what occasion was so important that we take our time, energy, and financial resources to mark it so completely. We remind ourselves that while we have given a little, God gave us so much.
I think that too often we go along with the cultural traditions because they’re fun, distracting, or just familiar -but they fail to mean anything. So we get through the holidays, and feel empty and disappointed. If we keep just a few things in mind, we won’t need to worry about that happening to us.
- God did not set down any hard and fast rules for celebrating the birth of his Son. We are allowed, and designed, to be creative. To take a blank canvas and paint a picture of our delight in Him.
- You and your spouse are one flesh and your traditions should reflect the personalities, passions, and creative angst of both spouses! Kevin will never get up on the roof to hang lights (he has enough trouble getting up on a chair to change a light bulb), but he will cook Christmas dishes that rival any restaurant creation! Justyn cannot help but decorate, and turn the inside of our home into a Christmas wonderland. We celebrate in a way relevant to the way that God created us!
- Analyze your current traditions. Study yourself. Make sure that all of your current traditions edify, build up and give honor to God. After all, this holiday is about Him and our traditions should honor and glorify Him.
Kevin and Justyn Lang hope that your Christmas is full of delight in each other, and in Christ. Merry Christmas!!!
To find even more meaningful Christmas traditions that teach your family how to fix their gaze on Christ then download our FREE eBook: 25 Days to Christmas ~ Family Oriented Ways to Focus on Christ.
This post is part of our Surviving the Holidays With Your Marriage Intact series! Come back all month long for tips, advice, giveaways, and a FREE eBook on the Holidays here at A Biblical Marriage. You can find the rest of the series HERE.