True confession… I am a five-year-old at heart and will always be the first awake on Christmas morning! When I was a kid, this was purely because of the excitement of opening presents. I would scan each package under the tree and organize them into piles depending on who they were for; this shortened the “passing out” process so we could get straight to the “opening phase”. Now, as an adult my routine has changed; I’m still the first awake, I start the coffee and pop in a movie while I wait for everyone else to either wake up or arrive that morning. It is so peaceful in the early morning on Christmas day… this is one of my favorite traditions, and trust me, my family has tons of traditions to choose from!
I often tell people that we have TOO MANY traditions… it can be exhausting trying to keep up with each one, and disappointing if one is passed over. It wasn’t till recently when chatting with my good friend, Ciara, that I realized how much I truly love Christmas and how traditions play a big part in that. Ciara and I each love different holiday and couldn’t really understand why the other had an extra pep in their step during “their” holiday… so, we each tried to enlighten the other by inviting them into our world and how WE experience the holiday.
For Ciara, it’s Halloween… so I joined her big SPOOKY bash, I dressed up, committed to the scavenger hunt, and even bobbed for apples that night! You know what? It worked! I left with a greater love for a holiday I thought was pointless for anyone over the age of 13! But the biggest thing I learned is that Halloween encourages people to let loose and let their inner child out! I guess it’s true that expressing and sharing your passion with others becomes somewhat infectious!
When the calendar rolled around to MY favorite holiday, I had the opportunity to sit down and really contemplate why I feel so warm and toasty this time of year (and I don’t mean staying inside from the cold weather… cause Los Angeles is NOT that cold… although I’m a wimp… so I guess it applies to me).
I first thought about all the family traditions we continue throughout the years, even the silly ones like throwing candy wrappers at the Christmas Tree to give it that extra glisten, and stealing the Twilight Edward ornament back and forth from each other’s trees.
Traditions are definitely NOT the meaning of Christmas, but they do something greater subconciously. Traditions ground me to the notion that my family will always be there for me. When I think of the Christmas season, I know we will try to see the Newport Boat Parade at our favorite spot on the beach. On Christmas Eve, I know we will be having tamales and a full house. When I think of Easter, I look forward to the night before when everyone comes over to help roll grape leaves in preparation for our big Armenian feast. When I think of Thanksgiving, I can’t wait to see the family and friends that will be in town at our open house breakfast. Once summer rolls around, I long for the quality time I will get with friends and family during our Shaver Lake camping trip! These are the traditions I will keep. They are traditions that are based on bringing people together. They root me to the idea that family matters… and this has been the foundation of joy during the holidays for me. But this year, I have had a hard time knowing that there are so many families and relationships that are broken. It lead me to question if my holiday joy was selfish or not… a kind of a Cindy Lou Who moment!
Then, I realized that family ties run deep… they are bonded together by blood. How fitting is it that our brothers and sisters in Christ are also connected through the blood He shed for us!
The grounding factor of traditions in my family therefore ALWAYS extends to our brothers and sisters in Christ and the friends who have become family over the years… if you’ve ever joined our family for one of our holidays, you can be assured that we consider you a part of the family! Traditions represent dependability… not only in family, but the dependability that can be found in Christ. You see, the world is not perfect, WE are imperfect, our families are imperfect, but we can be adopted into God’s family. He is the one true rock and firm foundation that I can ALWAY rely on!
The funny thing about traditions is that they can be created intentionally or accidentally, yet can last for generations! That’s insane! So enjoy all those quirky family traditions this year; and if you don’t have many traditions, I encourage you to start your own focusing on bringing loved ones together!! The reason for the season is bigger than presents and parties… it is a celebration of the greatest news and hope for all mankind! Let us celebrate this season and never forget the powerful meaning of Christmas… the birth of Jesus Christ!
My heart is so full yet so heavy… it is such an odd feeling! It is my instinct to look for the positive in each situation, but sometimes you sit in the middle and cry, and guess what… that’s ok! In fact, that’s more than okay, it’s necessary! If this season has been a tough one for you, allow yourself to feel those feelings, but remember that this is a season and it will pass.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!