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By Deena Simpson

The Christmas season can be a crazy stressful time. Mad-dash shopping for the perfect gift for loved ones, church activities, decorating, baking, and a variety of other things can cause us to forget the real purpose of Christmas.

God has a way of getting my attention during this season. It’s called change. I am very resistant to change. I like to plan to ensure that things go my way. Tradition is part of that planning for me. When our four children were little, and Christmas morning had finally arrived, they would all jump on our bed to wake us up as early as possible in order to go downstairs to discover what had been put under the tree for them. They were not allowed to go down without us. Of course Troy, my husband, would always make them wait by SLOWLY brushing his teeth and applying product to his hair. All the while they would be saying in chorus, “Dad, hurry up!” Although Troy and I were bleary eyed from late night gift wrapping, the time we spent together that morning was worth the lack of sleep. Our tradition continues, but our teenagers sleep in a bit more these days!

When your children are young it may feel like they will be small for a long time, but time flies. Our oldest daughter got married this summer. She and her husband live in suburban St. Louis and will have their own Christmas morning tradition, leaving us one child short on Christmas morning. Soon our son will leave for law school, and we will be two children short. I will cherish these next two Christmas mornings with him before he leaves for official adulthood. 

Another family tradition is Christmas Eve bowling. My precious Grandma always joins us and watches. When everyone is done with their games, she takes a turn. Troy helps her carry her ball, and holds her steady as she lofts it down the alley. Everyone takes videos, and cheers loudly when she knocks down pins. The bowling tradition will continue this year, but without my Grandma. She went home to be with Jesus in September. Christmas will not be the same without her.

Things change, and we are left with priceless memories. The one constant during every Christmas season is our Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” I am so thankful that I can count on my Lord to be constant throughout life’s changes. Though I may not always like all of the changes, I will continue to use the gifts of planning and tradition to make memories that will carry me through them. I encourage you to take time during the hustle and bustle of this season to internalize your own family traditions. As time marches and things change, be ready to make new memories while being grounded in the one constant - Jesus.  

 Merry Christmas, and Merry Memories!

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