Kingdom Family: Christmas and Tradition

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As parents we have one of the most awesome privileges in the world, discipling our children! If you do not already let me encourage you to make the most of family traditions and use them as a means to disciple and shape your children. Gospel-centered traditions can have profound influence and lasting impact on your children for generations to come. Here are several thoughts I have found helpful in creating gospel-centered traditions in the Ross home.

1. Teach The Gospel.

The gospel is the grand story of how sinners who were made in the image of God can be saved from their sin through the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Making memories and establishing traditions are discipling opportunities that allow us to take a specific calendared time to teach on the gospel. Gospel-centered families realize that traditions will always make much of Jesus. When the story of the gospel is the centerpiece of our traditions we say loudly the gospel is greater than…..!

2. Make Memories.

Here are a few of the upcoming Ross family traditions: 

  • A few days before Christmas we have pajama night and watch "The Nativity Story." Our kids start asking to watch this movie around the first of December. Yes, I know for the legalistic there are a couple of parts not so accurate, but it is a beautiful picture of the Incarnation. 
  • We have a "Lord of the Rings" marathon! What better way to talk about the war announced against sin, death, and the grave, than Sauron vs. Frodo? Nothing say's Christmas like epic Middle Earth battles and the ultimate victory of good over evil! 
  • We celebrate missions. It is a tradition for us to teach on and give to the "Lottie Moon Christmas Offering" every December. This offering goes to resource the over 4000 Southern Baptist Missionaries around the world. Also, joining your local church in ministering to the community is a great way to be missional as you manifest the gospel to those who are truly in need.
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  • We load up as a family and go the best place around to look at Christmas lights.  There is never a shortage of teaching opportunities about being "light" in the midst of "darkness." Since we moved to New Orleans in October, we had to find a new place to look at lights. This year we went to "Celebration In The Oaks" in City Park, which was a pretty amazing. 
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3. Incorporate Family Worship.

Each year we begin an Advent devotion on December 1st for our Family Worship. Advent is defined as: arrival, appearance,  dawn, birth, or coming . As a family we use this time of Family Worship to draw close to the greatest story ever, God becoming man. C.S. Lewis wrote, "The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation.  They say that God became Man.  Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this. . . ."  Use Christmas time traditions to teach your family the incredible doctrine of the Incarnation. 

The birth of Jesus is the grandest light of history, the sun in the heavens of all time. It is the pole-star of human destiny, the hinge of chronology, the meeting-place of the waters of the past and the future.
— Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ's Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (23–24). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

4. Record Your Journey. 

I just finished organizing some of our photos from past holidays. We have so many incredible resources at our fingertips for capturing our traditions. Take time to take pictures, make a video, or just journal some thoughts down about your family. I try to journal after as many of our family traditions as possible. This affords me an opportunity to share my heart through writing, but to also pass down our legacy of traditions. In past years I have used journal entries and photos to create an album of the years family traditions to give to Joy as a gift, which she loves! 

5. Be A Kingdom Family.

Creating gospel-centered traditions in your home involves a kingdom mindset. Jesus came to inaugurate His Kingdom, we are here to manifest His Kingdom, and He is returning to consummate His Kingdom. A Kingdom Family embodies the character of Christ, intentionally lives out the mission of Christ, through the Spirit of Christ, for the glory of Christ; manifesting His kingdom here on earth. Family traditions should always reflect the Kingdom of God, not the American dream. 

Family Traditions can be some incredible times of discipleship for your family. As you love God, lead your family, and live the gospel you manifest what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.