As the Christmas holiday is upon us, it makes me feel reflective of the kinds of family traditions and legacy that my husband and I are instilling in our four children.
I had a thought earlier this week that this might be one of the last Christmases that my oldest’s Christmas list is filled with toy requests. That thought made me sad.
Yesterday, I spent the day with my two big girls, ages nine and twelve, baking. We made all sorts of cookies and my grandmother’s “famous” rolls. By day’s end, I heard both of them on various occasions comment on how much fun they had. That made my heart smile.
You see, I’m all about traditions and memory making. They were some of the best parts of my childhood. As a child, I remember spending many, many days at my grandmother’s house. Sunday dinners at Grandmom Turner’s were the norm. Everybody, from aunts, uncles, cousins, my immediate family, and even friends would be there!
There was always an abundance of her rolls, string beans, Sock-It-To-Me Cake, black eyed peas, fried chicken, 7-Up Cake, rice, collard greens, and mashed potatoes that were so creamy, they’d melt in your mouth like butter! Most of the veggies if not all, came from her own enormous garden! My grandmother also instilled an invaluable foundation of knowing and loving God in anyone who came within earshot.
As a kid, I didn’t always appreciate the busyness and comings and goings that my mom would, in my eyes, “drag” us off to. My mother, a public school teacher, made it a point to often carry myself and my two older siblings off to various local happenings and events around town when I was growing up. We’d load into our Ford Taurus station wagon, and be on our way.
Now, as a mother myself, I get it. It’s very important for me to make sure I expose my children to as much culture and richness this life has to offer.
But one thing that I am even more convinced of, in terms of traditions and exposure for my children, is the necessity to ground my children as best I can in the faith I hold dear. You see, I’m not foolish to think just because I’m a believer in Jesus Christ that this will automatically transfer to faith in Christ for my children.
Many have gone through the ages with having a parent or parents who knew the beauty of salvation. They had security in the fact that they didn’t have to trust in their own merits to win God’s approval. These faithful believers taught their children about who God is and what His Son, Jesus, accomplished when He died on the cross for their sins. His death, was proven valid because He was perfect. He was granted the right to rise from the dead because He was not dying for His own sins.
You see, the Bible teaches that the wages of sin is death. Meaning, when you sin, or break God’s perfect law, the payment is death, which is separation from God (Romans 6:23).
But, there’s good news!
The gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23). God wants to grant eternal life, ie. unbroken relationship with Him, to anyone who trusts that Jesus’ death was enough to please God and satisfy God’s anger about our sin. As I previously mentioned, Jesus lived a perfect life and only died in our stead. This is why His death on behalf of sinful men and women is enough to cover over and eradicate the stain and guilt of sin.
This is the family tradition I hope and strive to pass down. Not that I would force a belief in this truth for my children. The reality that for some people, no matter how well they are taught, this still remains a mystery. Rather, I desire to be faithful to teach it to my children with hope that God will grant them understanding and faith. My desire is to faithfully commit to live out the implications that this truth means in my own life. I do not have to nor can I ever work to try to please God. Instead, I can rest in knowing Jesus’ life and death is enough.
This holiday season, I invite you to take hold of this family tradition as well. If you aren’t a believer in it, I invite you to trust God to give your heart understanding for what this means. If you are a believer, I encourage you to live this truth out loud every day in front of your children and anyone else for that matter!
Over the years, it would seem the saying, “Jesus is the reason for the season”, has become cliche. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Jesus IS the reason for the season. In fact, He is the source of it all!
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a truly Happy New Year!
God’s blessings to you!