ssl certificate

Redeeming Christmas Traditions

Do you see what I see?

I was reading through Darren Sutton's great post on Growing Family Traditions. I appreciated his driving point - "The important part of ‘tradition’ is the heart and memory – not the execution." It feels like we need that reminder, because we tend to do the same things every year about this time:

  • We kill a tree and cover it with visible electricity.
  • We send odd food and colorful cards to our loved ones.
  • We smooch someone under a leafy branch.
  • We hang flamboyant socks over the fireplace.
  • We sing off-key demands for figgy pudding at the top of our lungs.

For many of us, these are our Christmas traditions.

Do you see what I see?

While the holiday may include fun, frivolity and family, at its core it is something more... something that involves all that, yet transcends it. In fact, many holiday traditions have been around as we know them for less than two centuries. Prior to that, they were something else entirely.
Take the Christmas tree, for example. It's often the centerpiece of many homes who have no knowledge of its roots (pun intended). From a Christian standpoint, the Christmas tree is a German tradition that really took off when Germany's Prince Albert married England's Queen Victoria in 1840, and he brought this tradition with him. The royal family decorated it with small gifts, candles, candies and more, giving rise to the modern ornament. A photograph of the royal tree appeared in a London newspaper, and it quickly became fashionable to own a Christmas tree in Europe and America.

That's the modern Christmas tree, although its earlier origins were in pagan practices. For centuries, people worshiped trees as a spiritual pathway to fertility. Perhaps this is why Jeremiah 10:1-16 warns that we shouldn't stop short of making a natural tree or anything fashioned by human hands as our focal point. Rather, creation is supposed to point us to the Creator.

For some of us, traditions can be empty practices that take us away from God. For others, we can become so critical of tradition that we lose our ability to see God in unfamiliar ways.

The purpose of a tradition is to be a bridge to something deeper.

Do you see what I see?

I'm always on the lookout for God to meet me in my usual holiday traditions, while letting Him surprise me with something new. This year is was the "CROSS-Mas Tree" - a new concept that a friend-of-a-friend of mine developed.

The CROSSMas TreeAfter talking with its creator and getting one of these myself, I learned that one of the hopes he and his wife share is that it will cause their kids to ask questions and understand Christmas better. It's one thing to tell someone why we give gifts, and another thing to display it. A cross within the visuals of Christmas can change your mood and inspire you to thankfully pray over the gift of Jesus before you give the next iThing to a family member. It inspires selflessness in me as I look at it.

There's also the benefit of it being a fearless conversation piece as you have friends over. I'm always looking for another way or opening to share Christ's love with them as they come into the house. Not all of them are believers. It's just another way to share the Gospel with them.

Isn't that what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown?

Do you see what I see?

I like how this new idea of the CROSS-Mas tree came about by someone who felt his current traditions were stopping short. Has that been your experience?

Let's learn from each other on redeeming Christmas traditions:

  • If you could wipe the slate clean and start your holiday habits over from scratch, what would you do differently?
  • Or... what are some of your favorite Christmas traditions that have helped your family connect into the deeper Story?


[av_promobox button='yes' label='Join for free now.' link='' link_target='' color='theme-color' custom_bg='#444444' custom_font='#ffffff' size='large' icon_select='no' icon='ue800' font='entypo-fontello'] Want parenting stuff you can really sink your teeth into? Join our free weekly newsletter for parenting tips you can use in everyday life.
Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lifetree Kids


Start typing and press Enter to search