When two become one, Christmas does, too
Tradition. My husband and I realized the weight of this word during our first Christmas together. Where would we go? How would we celebrate?
Changing anything about the holiday tradition that I was accustomed to was out of the question. My husband felt the same way, so we engaged in a “discussion” about our first Christmas plans. I wish I could tell you I was slow to anger and self-sacrificing, but I wasn’t.
Traditions can have a strong hold on us. Traditions are not inherently bad. The Bible is full of beautiful traditions such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The problem arises when Christmas traditions become more important than the man they are designed to celebrate. When we invest more time and energy planning the menu for dinner than celebrating Jesus’ birth, our priorities are out of order.
As you and your spouse decide how you’ll celebrate Christmas, think about who you are together. After all, you are no longer two but one.
3 Things To Remember About Christmas Traditions
1. It’s OK to break old traditions and start new ones.
Doing exactly what our parents did, simply because that’s the way it has always been done, is not reason enough to make it a tradition. Matthew, one of Jesus’ disciples, writes that a man and woman will leave their father and mother and become one when they begin their life together. This doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy Christmas with family, but it does mean that we are ultimately responsible for our own decisions on how we celebrate.
2. Christmas isn’t a one-day celebration.
The birth of Jesus is something to celebrate! When Jesus was born, God entered the world and walked among us. Jesus then died for our sin, rose from the grave, and created a way for us to spend eternity in heaven.
Christmas is a big deal! But nowhere does the Bible say we have to celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25.
Only in modern America do we try to cram every festivity into the days leading up to Christmas. In many cultures, Christmas celebrations start on Christmas Day and continue for 12 days after. That festive period celebrating Jesus’ birth is actually what inspired the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Think about what works best for you and your family. For example, if you or your spouse work on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you might want to consider celebrating Christmas another day, and that’s OK.
3. Your traditions communicate your values to the world.
Christians and non-Christians celebrate Christmas in many of the same ways. They exchange gifts, decorate trees, and gather around a table to eat. But we don’t have to feel tied to these traditions.
A great question to ask when creating new traditions is this: What do our traditions say about who we are and who we follow?
Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Our love for our neighbors, co-workers, and friends should shine through daily — at Christmas and throughout the year.
Living out this command to love one another might look different for every couple. Maybe you show love through giving gifts or spending quality time with family. Maybe you show Jesus’ love by giving to those in need, volunteering at a homeless shelter, or participating in a food drive.
Whatever celebrating Christmas looks like for you, just remember: One of the best ways we can honor Jesus' birth is to love people the way He did.