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The True Meaning of Christmas. By Michelle Petersen

By Michelle Petersen Michelle Petersen, The Mumsy Blog
small Nativity scene

Packages, lights, decorations, and cards are things many people think of during this time of year. But another is traditions. Christmas wouldn’t be what it is without the events and occurrences many of our families have been doing for years during the holiday season. As I think back on the family traditions of my youth and the ones that my husband and I have carried on with our own children, the memories are countless! Oftentimes people ask me what my favorite Christmas celebration is, and I frequently find that I have a hard time choosing one specific tradition. However, I’ve learned that if I set aside some of the more commercial traditions of the holiday and begin to think about the ones that focus on the true meaning of Christmas, those are the ones that really mean the most to me because they focus on the greatest Christmas gift any of us has ever been given: the birth of our Savior and Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ. And these kinds of traditions are found within the heart of every home each December, carried out in ways that help family members feel most closely connected to the true meaning of Christmas.

The Petersen Family sharing the nativity

For me and my family, our favorite way to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ each holiday season is through the reenactment of the nativity found in Luke 2. But this isn’t any normal reenactment. I like to think of it as more of a small-scale production because this particular tradition is one that we do with a great amount of extended family. And after years of carrying out this family tradition, it has become that one tradition that is anticipated every year.

Here’s why:

On the Sunday before each Christmas, my family gathers for this now 20-plus-year tradition that my mom started as a way for all of our family members to get together at least once during the holiday season. It’s absolute chaos sometimes but always lots of fun! The entire family brings food to share and props for the children to use in the nativity. Once everyone has arrived, some of the adults help the children dress up for the parts they want to play in the nativity, which sometimes means that we end up 10 Marys, a dozen or so angels, and even a mooing cow or two! When all the kids are dressed and ready to go, everyone else takes their places and the nativity begins. Family members sitting in the audience take turns reading portions of the nativity while the children come out to stand in front of the cardboard manger and plastic night sky backdrop when their part is read. At the end of the nativity reenactment, we sing “Away in a Manager” and then spend the rest of the evening eating good food and talking the night away.

Overall, this tradition is very simple. But it seems that the simple traditions are the ones that mean the most, probably because they mirror the simple way in which our Savior, Jesus Christ, came to earth and allow us to truly enjoy being with the ones we love most. And if you ask me, that’s what Christmas is really all about.

The Petersen Family

Michelle is a blogger, wife, and mother of three great kids. She blogs at themumsyblog.com.

Photos are by Roxana Baker of Roxana B. Photography.