Many families have holiday traditions they observe from year to year that make the season especially meaningful.
At my house, we do traditional things such as putting up a tree, decorating, sponsoring the EvanTell Christmas party for the staff, and going shopping. But there is one tradition my family—meaning my wife Tammy, son David, and daughter-in-law Nicole—treasures the most.
Our Christmas morning starts with waking up and having breakfast, but before we open the gifts we pause for our tradition—reading aloud the Christmas story as recorded in Luke 2:1–20.
This reminds us what Christmas is all about—not our gifts to one another, but His gift to us.
Then one of our family members leads us as we respond to God in a prayer of thanks.
That tradition has become so meaningful that I do not have to suggest it. We all, as we sit around the tree, know it is that tradition that makes Christmas morning special and highlights the holiday season.
Why is that so special? Because as my family knows, it goes back to the day I came to Christ. God used hunting and the outdoors to convince me there was a Creator, and used my personal search and Bible study to bring me to Christ. I still remember that night as a teenager, I knelt by my bed and told God, “In the best way I know how, I am trusting Christ as my only way to heaven.”
The next day in high school I could tell something had happened. I had an inner peace and security like I had never known before. For the first time in my life, I knew where I was going when I died and I knew why.
So that year, when Christmas morning came, I literally did not care what was under the tree. I now knew the one who made the tree. I was so excited, I wanted more than anything to say to my family, “Can we just stop right now and read the Christmas story together?”
Although my family was religious and God fearing, we were not vocal about our faith. (It was only years later that both my mom and dad assured me of their salvation.)
Unfortunately, as a new Christian, I just could not muster up the courage. I wish I had known then what I know about asking God for boldness. The “unknown” about how they would respond held me back that first Christmas morning and even the immediate years following.
So, when I established my own family, I knew this was the one thing we were going to do every Christmas morning without fail. After all, without Jesus, there is no Christmas. With Him, Christmas never ends. So why not use Christmas morning to remind ourselves that it is His birthday, not ours.
Editor's Note: The featured picture shows Larry with his son in December 1983.