Tradition dictates the way many of us celebrate Christmas. We have traditions for how and where we spend time with family, how we decorate, when we shop, and whether or not we go caroling. We carefully organize the details for each part of our traditional celebration—wreaths, trees, nativity scenes, charitable contributions, church productions, meals, gifts, and more.
But as these traditions take on a life of their own, we can wear ourselves out trying to attend to all the details. It might make you wonder why in the world you're doing all this. Are homespun traditions all there is to Christmas? Of course not. Christmas is about celebrating God's goodness to the world through the birth of Jesus Christ.
Love brought Jesus down so that God's people would have a right relationship with Him.
Our Christmas traditions should, in some way, point to God's fulfilled promise of redemption for His people. God gave fully and loved perfectly in Jesus Christ. He didn't give His gift to beautiful and gracious people who deserved redemption, but to people who were filled with enmity and hatred. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Love brought Jesus down so that God's people would have a right relationship with Him. He gave His Son to be born as a helpless baby in a manger and later to toil as a young man in a carpenter's shop. He gave Him to the Pharisees and the scribes, who slandered His immaculate character. He died a criminal's death and took on the sin of the world, forsaken—for a time—by His beloved Father. He took on our judgment and death so that we might be reconciled to God.
As we prepare for Christmas this season, let us infuse our traditions with new ways to remember, appreciate, and share God's fulfilled promise of redemption.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for getting wrapped up in traditions that don't matter. I pray that You would help me this Christmas season to keep my traditions focused on the fulfilled promise of redemption. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10).