Every family that celebrates Christmas has special Christmas traditions. I wish I could remember when my favorite family tradition began. This tradition didn’t start with the family I formed with SuperDave when we got married – it started with my parents and my siblings.
On Christmas Eve when I was a child, we sat beside (or on) my Dad as he read from the Bible. When I read these words, I always hear them in my Dad’s voice.
Luke 2 (KJV)
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And only then, after we put Jesus first, did we receive our gifts from our parents and each other.
When I grew up and left home, we continued this tradition with our family, with my husband reading the Christmas story to our children. But the tradition still continues with my parents, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The children sitting on the floor and in Dad’s lap change through the years, and the numbers keep growing. It’s usually not Christmas Eve these days, it’s whenever our family can get the greatest number of people in one place, this year it was a Saturday afternoon. And it looks something like this.
In the days before photography was digital and inexpensive, my mom didn’t take a lot of photos, so I’m pretty sure there are not photos of us as children listening to my Dad read from the Bible at Christmas. But the picture is there, in my mind, in my heart, because I don’t remember ever having Christmas without this tradition.
And now we have photos through the years, of our children, and our children’s children, sitting on and near my Dad while we listen to the words from Luke, “and it came to pass…..” And I realize that I have already received the only gift I wanted, one more year with my Dad reading the Christmas story to our family.
I guess it isn’t any wonder that even Linus can bring a tear to my eye at Christmas.