As a young couple, we dreamed of what
our family could be. My husband and I are both planners. We think
it’s fun to make lists and brainstorm about the future. And that’s
just what we did regarding holidays and traditions.
Merging traditions and forging our own
way took purpose and perseverance. The thought of adding holiday
traditions on top of our full lives seemed idealistic. But ideals
were what we strived for. And all these years later, we still do.
I had a dream. If I built places into
our home where our children could thrive – they would come.
So I found a large basket, filled it
with holiday books from the library and thrift stores and placed it
on the hearth. My husband’s a mountain man at heart and we never
lack for firewood – so I kept a fire burning when Texas weather
permitted. I now have images forever etched into my mind of our
children gathered around the fire reading, year after year, old and
young. I never had to announce the purpose of the book basket or the
fire. They got it. This became a tradition and a safe place to rest
our souls during the holiday season.
In our king-sized family, unity is
something we have to work at. So we give a family Christmas gift to
our kids, something we can enjoy together. Our gift, as their
parents, is hearing our kids play – together. We have memories of
half-grown men unpacking a punching bag and carrying it off to the
guy’s room like a prized catch. Smiles, joking and strategizing how
and where to hang it – while still in their Christmas pajamas –
the man cave would never be the same.
One year we unveiled a basketball goal,
rolled it into the cul-de-sac and the thumping sound began! A
ping-pong table and trampoline made the list through the years. Of
course each person receives personal gifts – but the family gift is
for the sole purpose of helping us build memories together, on
purpose. Before long – these gifted activities have become part of
the fabric of our home life.
Unity takes effort. If we build
opportunities to work and play together
into our holiday plans – the kids
Two years ago we decided to get legit
lights for our house. The discount Christmas lights had run their
course and our teens asked for a redo. Lights were not in the budget
so we made our own rolling purchase plan. The first year we got the
basics, the next year we added the eaves and this year we’re
topping off the roof at it’s height. This was a family project –
the kids asked for it. So when the time comes to clip every little
piece onto the roof and screw each bulb in place – they’re all
in. Dad oversees the project and we strategize which lights we’ll
purchase next year. Standing in the front yard and beholding the
finished product ignites the season of giving for our clan.
I’ve never had the privilege of
building my own home – but I do have the honor of being the
co-architect of our home life. This takes planning, dreaming and
trial and error, because we’re not only building a home life –
we’re building people – and this is the greatest privilege of all.
As we unpack our Christmas treasures
and scroll through Pinterest to find just the right look – may we
all use the creativity the Lord has granted each of us to frame the
greatest holiday of all for our own families. And may the Lord find
us faithful in building for the future. Merry Christmas!
at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for
those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14