Every Christmas, amidst the celebration and wonder, I always hear whispers (or shouts) here and there from people who want to argue why we put a tree in our house (“What does that have to do with Jesus?!”) or why we put lights on our houses (“Waste of energy! What does that have to do with Jesus?!”) or why we put ornaments on the tree (“Jesus didn’t have ornaments!”)
And I want to respond with, Why does it matter?
Just because Jesus didn’t have a Christmas tree, or tree lights, or ornaments, and technically wasn’t even born in December…doesn’t mean that we can’t create meaning with our Christmas traditions. Everything can be glorifying to Him or turn our focus to him. One way I love to do this is with Christmas ornaments.
When I was little, each ornament had a story. (Tweet this) “Hey, this is when I traced my hand in Mrs. Haskins’ class!” or “I remember Patrice giving us these snowmen with our horse’s names on them!” I’m pretty sure this is true with everyone.
But now I’m at that point in my life where I celebrate Christmas with my hubby. We’re starting our own traditions, creating our own memories, and one way we do that is by buying/making/finding a Christmas ornament every time we travel to a new country. Then, as we decorate the tree…we can pray for that country and for the people we met when we were there. Someday, when we have kids, we can share those stories and they can start their own and we’ll be fostering the tradition of prayer through what some would call a pagan, Jesus-less activity. 😉
Who said Christmas tree ornaments can’t be Jesus-y? (Tweet this)
That being said, I want to share this tradition with you this year. And I hope you’ll share yours with me. Every day until Christmas, I’ll be sharing an ornament on my Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, using the hashtag #OrnamentStory and giving a small explanation of where this ornament came from, the people involved, and something to pray for. (Tweet this) If you’re so inclined, please join me in prayer for those people and that country. Even more, share a picture of one of your ornaments and tell me the story behind them!
The picture on the right is the first one I’m sharing. Here’s the story:
I was attending Calvary Chapel Bible College York in England in 2009. During one church service, a couple from Finland attended. We struck up a conversation and they invited me to visit them in Finland. “Riiiight,” I thought. I mean, those are the types of invitations we always think, “That’s nice, but when am I ever going to be in Finland?”
I thanked the and we exchanged e-mails. Then I realized Finland isn’t that far from England. In fact, it cost only $60 to fly there. So…on a whim, as an adventuring single college student I up and traveled to Finland and met up with this couple for a weekend. It was one of the most memorable trips in my life. They took me to a giant hunting lodge store. It was like a giant lodge but every nook and cranny was filled with beautiful things and art from Finland.
This couple treated me with the utmost kindness, teaching me all about the Finnish culture and taking me to a multi-language church on Sunday, exploring the lakes and traveling the entire country by car (in a single weekend!) This little ornament was the only thing I purchased on the trip, and it always makes me think of Magnus and Sinnika. They loved the Lord with their whole hearts and Magnus would pray for thirty minutes (over meals!) — that’s how caught up he’d get in talking with God.
So, on this lovely Christmas, I am praying for them and thanking God for such a sweet memory.
I love Christmastime, and I love traditions. Even though some traditions have arisen from something that wasn’t necessarily connected to the “original” purpose of Christmas, I think we can make every tradition an opportunity in which to praise the Lord and focus on Him. (Hey! That’s just like life! Weird… 😉 )
So…who’s joining in? (Feel free to share/repost/tweet/pin the photo below.)
What is a special Christmas tradition you have? What do you think about tree ornaments?