The traditions we have started with our family have come out of the ‘Light the World’ initiative.
In the first year, we participated because it sounded fun. We thought, ‘well let’s give it a go and see how we get on.’
I began planning little things that we could do to:
- Serve our neighbours and those around us, and
- Make Christmas more meaningful to the children, focusing less on what they can get out of Christmas and more about what they can give.
We had been looking for ways to get into the spirit of Christmas for a while. The Light the World initiative has been the answer for us. After only two years of engaging in it, there are already many traditions our children talk about as though they have always been in our family. I am amazed at the power and effect it has had on us.
As we have followed the Light the World initiative, we have been able to donate to the food bank and share goodness on our social media accounts. We have done things like take a cake to a new neighbour and deliver a basket of treats to the local health centre to support those who are sick or have other needs.
The tradition we love the most happens on Christmas Eve.
This is when we re-create the story of Jesus Christ and spend a night in Bethlehem. We dress as they would have dressed. We try to eat food they would have eaten, and we talk about Jesus Christ and the kind of life He had.
It is easy to speak about the great things Jesus Christ did. On Christmas Eve we talk about the difficulties He experienced. With no fixed residence, He always relied on the help of strangers; we talk about how we can be those strangers who reach out and lift others who need our support.
On Christmas day, instead of a gingerbread house, the children put together a gingerbread stable with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.
I think it’s good for children to know and understand that the greatest person who ever lived on this earth, started out as a baby and had to learn everything He knew – just like them. Not only did He start mortality as a baby, but He came to earth in the humblest of circumstances.
Children are so open to the feelings of the Spirit. They seem to get concepts wholeheartedly. These teaching moments make the effort all worth it.
Christmas is such a wonderful occasion in our household. There is a certain reverence, and now, an expectation from the children to carry out these new traditions each year.
I look forward to the day when we can participate in these same traditions in the homes of our grown children. I hope they will be able to reflect fondly on memories such as these that have sealed their testimonies and knowledge of the truthfulness of the birth and life of our Saviour Jesus Christ and of His sacred ministry on the earth.