This was prepared for a 2018 family devotional collection on the theme of Christmas past, present, and future.
The observance of Christmas in Dickens story is the tableau upon which is built a morality play on the consequences of goodness and of selfishness. It teaches that what we are, and what we experience today is the result of the circumstances, learnings and choices of yesteryear. And as follows, what we will see in the future will be the consequence of today’s behavior, lessons, and choices.
We see this transfer of knowledge both in the understanding of the solemn significance of the birth of Jesus, and in the more superficial but certainly no less robust beliefs on the traditions of Christmastime celebrations.
Our family Christmas celebrations are our inheritance from the intertwined family DNA in our blood, and we are now teaching our children what we have learned and valued. At times the sacred and the traditional are inextricable. For our family, they include:
- The centrality of Christ’s birth in the holiday and in all of human history
- The value of family being together to observe the Holy Day
- The extension of joy to others; helping and welcoming those beyond our family
- Reading (or reciting) the Christmas story from Luke
- Listening to Manheim Steamroller’s version of Silent Night as a final Christmas Eve reflection
- We believe in the magic of Santa Claus
- Stockings are at the foot of everyone’s bed on Christmas morning
- Children cannot go to the collection of gifts under the tree before the whole family is ready
- We watch and participate in gift opening one by one (there is some multi-generational grousing about this)
- It is sacrilege (of sorts) to begin Christmas decorating and music before Santa Claus makes his appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
You’ll recognize many of these from Christmas Past and Present. And as the years go by, we hope that the Future won’t look much different at all. God bless us everyone.