During the Christmas season my heart and mind go back to so many fond memories as a child.  As a child, there is something special in the air as Christmas approaches.  With the possibility of a Santa Claus, the joy of receiving presents, the enjoyment of Christmas programs at church, and the hope for snow, I was forever impacted and changed because of Christmas!  However, as I look back, the memories that I cherish are not those things.  Although every child wants to receive that one special gift, very few actually remember that moment.  I’m sure there were bicycles and gaming systems that I wanted, but now that I have grown up, those things have passed from my memory.

We were different in how we celebrated Christmas.  Because our extended family lived in Alabama, we would always celebrate Christmas on a special date before the 25th of December.  Throughout the entire month, we would have our stocking for Jesus on the mantle beside everyone else’s.  Each night after family devotions, we would put money in this stocking for our Christmas Gifts for Christ offering at church.  On the day we would celebrate Christmas, we would start by reading the story of Jesus’ birth.  We would follow this by singing Christmas hymns and carols.  Not just one or two, but several (and you should hear our family sing!)  After this, we would each pray, going from the youngest to the oldest, each thanking God for another year of life and for the gift of His Son.  I have great memories of these times.

Through this tradition, my parents taught me the importance of the true meaning of Christmas.  The focus was not on the presents.  The focus was not on family love.  Although by themselves, there is nothing wrong with them.  The focus was on Jesus.  My parents taught me a great deal through a family tradition.  Even this Christmas, we will continue to follow this tradition.  I thank God that my parents taught me.

I challenge you parents to take advantage of this Christmas and teach your children through some traditions that you have or that you will start this year.  Don’t pass this season without using it as a training time in your family.  You will make an impact on your children; choose to train them God’s way!