As I posted yesterday, I will try to give a few of our family traditions. Some of these are clearly that we would focus completely on Christ while others are simply traditions that we have developed as a family. They actually begin before Christmas day because we want to anticipate and lead up to that day when we celebrate the birth of the Savior, Christ Jesus. Let me also say that new traditions seem to start yearly and we have many more that we've thought about already that have not been put into practice yet.
Advent - As a family we take time during our family devotions leading up to Christmas to focus on the events around and leading up to the birth of Christ. We also do this as a church family, but I think it's important for us and our children to realize that we are consistent in how we focus on Christmas. So we read the Bible, discuss advent, and sing songs that point us to the birth of Christ.
Christmas Eve Morning - Several years ago we moved away from both sides of our families. My family and Shannon's family both live close to one another so we decided we wanted to see them all at Christmas. However, we also wanted to make sure that we celebrated as a family (Shannon, Abigail, Owen, and myself) so we decided to celebrate on Christmas Eve before going to see family.
The first thing we do is wake up and spend some time reflecting on the birth of Jesus. We do not do Santa in our home so that is not an issue. We talk about the greatest gift ever given as the birth of the Son of God. We read Scripture and sing songs about Christ. Then we open gifts. This is a way for us to display grace to one another and show how gift giving can honor Christ on His birthday.
After this we have breakfast together. It has become a tradition in our house for Shannon to prepare (the night before) and cook (that morning) a breakfast casserole. I love it! I'm not sure how this came to be, but we now look forward to eating this every Christmas Eve morning as a family.
After breakfast, as Shannon and I clean the kitchen, Abigail (and this year Owen) spend time playing with their gifts and having a great time (usually). However, our morning isn't over yet. We have one more thing that we want to do as a family before packing up and heading out of town for a couple of days. It has become a tradition for Shannon and Abigail to go into the kitchen and prepare a birthday cake. After the cake is finished we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and enjoy the cake for His honor.
We are always looking for more ways to celebrate with the family and to honor Christ. Each year we add something new and each year we wish we had added something then.