December 5, 2011

The Traditions Of Christmas by Montserrat Wadsworth

Our family loves musicals so it will come as no surprise that one of our favorites is Fiddler on the Roof. We have nine children the first six of whom are girls. While we were in the thick of having just girls my husband could very easily relate with Tevye. (He also does a very impressive Tevye but that's beside the point). The whole theme of Fiddler on the Roof has to do with one word.


"Because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka, we have traditions for everything... How to sleep, how to eat... how to work... how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered, and always wear a little prayer shawl that shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, "How did this tradition get started?" I'll tell you! . . . . I don't know. But it's a tradition... and because of our traditions... Every one of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do."

There are many traditions that surround the celebration of Christmas. Many of them, while they may in and of themselves be good, can distract us from what we are truly celebrating, the miraculous birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. From the beginning of our marriage, and I mean the very beginning as we were married on December 20, my husband and I decided we would try to establish only those traditions that would point our family to Christ.

 Tradition #1: No Santa. I think this one is the hardest for other people to accept. "What?! How can you deny your children the magic and joy of Santa?"  We don't need the magic and joy of a fictitious figure when we can have the pure love and joy and hope of The One from whence all love and joy and hope flows. We have taught our children to be Christ's helpers, not Santa's helpers, upon the earth.

Nativity globe

Tradition #2: Three Gifts. Just as the Christ child received three gifts from the Wise Men each of our children receives three gifts. (Of course they also receive gifts from grandparents and friends but from our immediate family the number is three.) Two come from mom and dad and the third comes from the sibling gift exchange. Those sibling gifts are always homemade. It is so delightful to help them as they secretly scheme and plan, sew and build the perfect gift for one another.

 Tradition #3: Service for Others.  One year when I was a child our family received a very memorable Christmas surprise. We try to do them same for another family with our children each year. Our whole family is definitely part of the planning, coming up with ideas of what types of service to do and for whom. Children are very sensitive to the needs of others. Many times they have seen a need we overlooked. This is one of our favorite traditions! Again, it is because we are trying to be Christ's helpers, not Santa's helpers.

 Tradition #4: Christmas School. Because we homeschool we are able to plan our schooling around our needs. We actually have no school for the whole month of December. But because we do need to fill up our days with good things to avoid being lazy we do Christmas school. This consists of some type of unit study where we learn about different aspects of Christmas. We have studied Christmas hymns, the symbols of Christmas, and our favorite that we return to year after year no matter what else we are studying , the names of Christ.
Mary's Heart by Liz Lemon Swindle

Tradition #5: The Living Christ. This one is actually a new tradition that was started last year. As a gift to my husband we, meaning the children and I, memorized The Living Christ. We started in September going over a line or two each day. Christmas morning dawned. My husband called on our oldest to open one gift first (another tradition) but instead of opening her gift she told him she had a gift for him. We all stood and recited The Living Christ, even the six year old had it completely memorized. The look on my husband's face - of shock, then love, then gratitude - was priceless. It was such a sacred experience none of us felt like opening any gifts for at least an hour afterward. We just sat and talked and visited and enjoyed our family and the love of Christ that permeated our home. The children suggested we start every Christmas morning from then on by reciting The Living Christ. This year with Christmas on Sunday, the children were the ones to suggest that all we do before church is recite The Living Christ then wait to open our gifts after church. 

And that is our whole purpose of having Christ centered traditions. So our children can recognize the love of Christ in their lives and help to spread that love to others.


Montserrat blogs over at Chocolate On My Cranium

She is the active, homeschooling, amazing and talented, keep it all together, mother of 9 {NINE} children. 

Her family nicknames include: 

Cookie (6), Bon Bon (15), Fudge (8), Truffle (10), Brownie (12), Special Dark (4), Mr. Ferrero Rocher, Ganache (2 months), Semisweet (14), Hershey (2), Cocoa (me)

And when she sends you an email, her signature reads: 
Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don't need an appointment.

Please make sure to stop by and give her a visit. I adore her, and you will too.


Abby said...

I love The Living Christ tradition, what an amazing and powerful way to bring Christ into Christmas. Thanks so much for sharing your family's beautiful traditions.

Christina said...

The YW in my mom's ward are memorizing The Living Christ before Christmas. It's such a powerful message!

AllisonK said...

I'm with you on the no Santa. It's been the best thing that ever happened to our family! Love the living Christ tradition. Great post Montse!

Cellista said...

Beautiful post Montse!! I'm also with you on #1. You put it so succinctly. We simply don't need Santa. Christ provides us with enough love and joy and hope. And he's REAL!

Curls said...

Lovely traditions, thanks for sharing them!