We don't have many Christmas traditions, but this year we began a new one. We were very aware that the reason we celebrate Christmas has been getting lost in buying presents and the focus on my business. Sure it's fun to buy gifts for our children, and the boost my handmade business gets from holiday shoppers is critical, but it is really important to us that we don't forget the Christ child and his birth.
My husband suggested that we put an empty manger under the tree, so that we could wait for baby Jesus to arrive on Christmas morning. It would be a visible reminder, and would add an element of anticipation for both us and the kids. Sean spent some time in the basement with his stash of scrap wood, cutting and hammering, and emerged with a rustic manger.
Up until Christmas Eve the manger remained empty under the tree. On that night, after the kids went to bed, we put a small baby doll in the manger. Having a visible reminder and reading a chapter of Luke every morning really helped us to redirect our focus during the holiday season this year. But best of all, we know that after that first Christmas all those years ago Jesus is with us always if we'll just ask him to live in our hearts. We don't have to wait for Christmas anymore.