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This week we celebrate our traditional Christmas Eve service with the lighting of the Christ Candle and sharing the light of Christ among each other – all this while singing “Silent Night.”

It made me want to reflect on traditions as we close out 2022. What are some of your traditions this time of year? For many, it involves a vast amount of food being prepared and shared with friends and family. For others, a tradition of opening one present Christmas Eve, sometimes special holiday themed jammies, is done.

I ask this because I want to share one of my favorite traditions. As much as I try to stay up late so I can sleep in on Christmas morning, I always find myself up before everyone else – might change this year with everything happening. I get up, turn on music and just wait. I wait for Chris and Savannah to get up and get excited for the presents that are stuffed under the tree and in their stockings. The surprised look on their faces makes my day, as I know that momentary glimmer of excitement will turn into anticipation as different toys are assembled, batteries are charged, and the disappointment of getting another item of clothing will soon take over.

Christmas has always been special for me, even the tough ones when my parents were hurting financially. Though I didn’t act it at the time, I did greatly appreciate what I was given. It would be years later, my junior year in fact, when I came to the sudden realization that giving is the greatest gift of Christmas.

Some traditions fade over time, and I know that my tradition of watching the kids wake up on Christmas will one day fade as they head out into the world. For now, though I will keep my traditions close to my heart and cherish the memories of Christmas’ past. From my family to yours, Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year. ~ Pastor Will

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