Every family has Christmas traditions, things they do every year. Special food has to be on the menu or else it just isn’t Christmas. Last year my family and I broke one of our traditions.
Since our kids were little we would get up, open presents, and have a big breakfast together, Belgian waffles with all the toppings: sausages, eggs, hash browns, and whatever else we could whip up. For 364 days every year I look forward to sitting at our table with Britton and my kids, laughing enjoying each other’s company and gorging myself on a waffle topped with maple syrup, strawberries, whipped cream and sausages. Last year we did something different. We broke from tradition.
Instead of enjoying a big breakfast we got dressed and headed to a woman’s shelter on Christmas morning. Together we led the small group of women and their children in a worship service. My kids led the singing of several Christmas Carols and I spoke about the hope that Jesus brought. As much as I love my Christmas morning waffle, to sit there and watch my kids lead worship was even sweeter! I don’t know about you, but I don’t always get to see my kids serving and I don’t often get to serve alongside my family.
It was inconvenient to go out on Christmas morning. The shelter wasn’t the easiest to find (they don’t put big flashy signs out in front of women’s shelters). I have to admit that in the days leading up to that morning, I often wished I hadn’t made the commitment to putting on the service. As soon as we got there and I saw my kids serving Jesus, my whole attitude changed. The memory of that Christmas will be forever in my mind. It ranks up there as one of the best Christmases ever.
What are you doing this Christmas? Have you ever thought of breaking one of your traditions?
When we choose to serve and give without expecting anything in return we move ourselves closer to the heart and mind of Jesus. Philippians 2:3-8 says,
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”
Jesus gave up his divine privileges, the comfort of heaven, to serve you and me and give his life for us. This is why serving is such an important part of growing as a follower of Jesus, because when we serve someone else we are following in the footsteps of Jesus and becoming more like him.
What if this year you created some new memories by serving together as a family? Take it from me, there is nothing sweeter than serving alongside your spouse and children. What if this year you chose to create a new tradition of giving without getting anything in return. I wonder what impact modelling this behaviour to your children might have on your family? I wonder if you and your family might grow as followers of Jesus and have some fun serving together as well?
If you are part of Living Hope then we have a unique opportunity to help you create a new tradition. This year at Living Hope we will be hosting 3 Christmas Eve services at Living Hope (10:30 am, 4 pm and 7 pm). Last year we hosted over 750 people between our two services and we anticipate hosting upwards of a thousand people at our Christmas Eve Celebration. What if this Christmas Eve you worshiped at 10:30 as a family and then served together at the 4 pm or 7 pm service, or both!
You could serve as greeters or ushers at one of the services, you could serve as hosts at the family party in between the 4 and 7 pm services, or you could serve refreshments together as our guests arrive. If you are musical we also need musicians to serve for all three services.
BUT you don’t have to serve with us, there are a lot of great organizations where you could serve this Christmas. Why not plan now to create or carry on a tradition of giving and serving without getting anything in return, because isn’t that what Christmas is really about anyway?