Make passing on your faith a family Christmas tradition


Dr. Clay Perkins


By D. Clay Perkins

Saturday, December 23, 2017

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” — 2 Timothy 1:5 (The Bible, New International Version)

Traditions are good. When we make sure we do the same things every Christmas, we are passing on our traditions. We are reminding ourselves — while teaching our children — what matters most. We are emphasizing what is important in this family.

Around the world we find what are, to me (and perhaps to you, too), some very odd holiday traditions. If you live in Norway, you would hide your broom (so no cleaning on Christmas Eve) to prevent your broom from being stolen by evil spirits. KFC is eaten by most in Japan on Christmas Eve, due to a very successful advertising plan in 1974. Look out for Krampus, a Christmas devil, who beats naughty children with switches if you live in Austria. If you like deep-fried caterpillars, move to South Africa during the holidays. And have your roller skates ready for attending Christmas services at your church in Venezuela.

Locally, Christmas traditions abound. Some may be unique; others, common. Some will make sure they ride a horse-drawn carriage in the snow, while others will participate in a boat parade. Most downtown Christmas parades end with a visit from Santa. There are Christmas lights on most homes and even larger park displays to drive through. Productions in local houses of worship will often match thespian productions and welcome large crowds of visiting family and friends.

In our homes, some families always have new socks or PJs with an image from the favorite family Christmas movie. Christmas dinner is on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. For some the meal is a week later, when work and schedules allow. The Elf on the Shelf visits many homes, and nearly everyone has special foods ranging from chocolate gravy to the notorious fruit cake (sometimes used as a door stop). There is the giving and receiving of gifts. Singing of carols or the reading of stories is a must for some.

So what are your traditions saying about you and your values? What things do you and your family do each and every year? What message are you sending to family and friends? Years from now, what will those who follow after you think was important to you?

Do your favorite things promote your sincere faith? What message do your holiday customs send? If others do what you do during the season, what will they think the holiday is all about? What are your children’s children learning about Christmas? What are you passing on?

Lois passed her faith on to Eunice. Eunice passed her faith on to Timothy: grandmother to daughter to son. Why not make sure each and every Christmas, and the rest of the year, you are passing on the story of the Christ child (Matthew 1:1-2:23, Luke 1:1-2:40, John 1:1-14) born on Christmas Day. Christmas is the perfect time to pass on sincere faith.

Stay focused.

Dr. D. Clay Perkins is an adjunct professor at Mid-Atlantic Christian University.