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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)

TITLE: A New Family Tradition
By Julie Ruspoli


Several years ago, in the month of December, I realized Christmas is not about who can buy the most elaborate gifts; Christmas is about love. Because God loved us so much, He sent a tiny baby to earth. This tiny baby had a big task to fulfill one day. When I realized the magnitude of that priceless gift we received when that tiny baby was born, Christmas became something enormously more important than over priced gifts.

Now that December went like all the other December’s in my past. Yes we grew up attending Church every Sunday and participating in the Christmas programs, we had been told about the priceless gift from God. Our children also attended with us now and were in the Christmas programs as well. Of course like many others, Christmas was also about spending every dime we had on gifts for family and friends.

You know that amazing feeling you get when you have prepared so well for your Christmas program? The feeling that comes from weeks of hearing those soul grabbing Christmas songs about the love of God so many times that you can feel His love and it makes you want to run around the entire earth screaming to anyone who can hear, “God loves us, don‘t you see.” That year I had that feeling more than ever and I simply could not wait for the Christmas program. Needless to say, I was excited almost beyond what my body could handle.

Since Christmas was on Monday that year, the Sunday before Christmas was the scheduled day for our Christmas program. We were ready for Christmas that special Sunday, packages all bought, wrapped and under the tree, special outfits ironed, new shiny shoes, fresh snow on the ground, and every note and line of the Christmas program memorized and practiced till we could perform it in our sleep. Excitement ran through my family like a flood of love we could hardly keep inside us. Just as we were ready to walk out the door the phone rang. The road to the Church was impassable due to ice and a 8 foot snow drift. My heart felt like a lead weight flopping around in my chest.

Always the optimist couple though, we decided to make the best of it and spend the day with the kids and have Christmas early. We made hot cocoa, brought a tray of baked goodies near the tree like always and began opening gifts. The kids were so excited to get their gifts early, their little faces lit up every time they opened a gift. I really tried to enjoy it, but my lead heart was still flopping in my chest and every gift seemed unimportant and selfish. My husband didn’t seem to be enjoying himself either.

Emotion got the best of me and the tears began to flow uncontrollably. My oldest son seen my tears, climbed on my lap and asked why I was crying. Between sobs I said, “We’re supposed to be having the Christmas program now.” He said to me, “Mommy, the bible doesn’t say we can only have a Christmas program in a Church does it.” Talk about a revelation, why didn’t I think of that. Suddenly my heart became lighter, but with a warm fuzzy feeling around it.

What happened next I can only describe as life changing. My family stood in front of our Christmas tree and sang every Christmas song we knew the words to. The children said all their lines of the Christmas play, and my husband read the real Christmas story from the Bible. Our family never felt closer and that urge to run around the earth was replaced with Christmas caroling around our neighborhood. We now had a new family tradition, one with a purpose, one without all the overly priced presents, one for God.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sunny Loomis 11/03/08
I like this. You had your heart set on being part of a program, but God had other plans. Sounds as if the one you did have turned out even better.
Marlene Austin11/04/08
Nice personal narrative. Good job describing the disappointment from the canceled program. :)
Beckie Stewart11/05/08
How nice. Thanks for sharing this. Very touching story.