When I was asked how I find meaning in Christmas each year, I had to really stop and think about it. Admittedly, our family is a little short on traditions. I do the usual things like bake and decorate, have Christmas music on, etc. I guess the way I do things is a little different than some families and it works for us.
The first decorating I do is to set up our large nativity scene. It just seems right to do that above all, and then I fill in with a tree (most years) and a little globe I have of the nativity. I try to keep decorating simple and focused on the true meaning of Christmas - Christ's birth. So my tree is only decorated with angels, stars, and reminders of God's gifts to us, our children. No pickles, Coca Cola Santa bears or themed team Christmas trees at our house!
This year we are instituting a dollar limit on our gift giving, and hoping to take pressure off our kids and selves to keep it simple and focus on what Christmas is really about.
Another thing we like to do when the "kids" are home is drive around and look at lights. There is something very special about living in a small town and that sort of magical element of community that you feel at Christmas. One of our daughters lives in a large metro city, and the hometown feel just isn't there. With grandchildren now in the middle of our lives, we see everything anew through their eyes. We are trying to keep the Santa Claus emphasis out of it, and just focus on family, Jesus, and the simple joy of being together.
A strange, but personally meaningful thing for me is a connection I feel to the holy family and Jesus's humble birth when I am out in our barn, cleaning the horse stall. There is just something about being in a cold, quiet barn that reminds me very physically about what it might have been like for Mary, Joseph and the precious baby Jesus. I think of all the places He could have been born, and yet God chose this most humble of entries into the world! It touches me to think that Jesus became low that He might lift us up with Him.
Jean & Rick Imholte