One of my favorite things about this season of Advent, especially when my kids were younger, has always been the very many opportunities it presents to share stories.

Unpacking family Christmas decorations and ornaments prompted stories: like the large wooden Santa who hangs on our front door every year (my husband and I bought it at a craft show, for our very first Christmas together).

Or the set of four hand-embroidered stockings that hang on the banister in our hallway each year (we bought them in Vietnam, one for each of our children, to celebrate the country of their births).

Or the really ugly bear ornament “Turpentine” that is a source of on-going angst, as my husband places it front and center of the tree, honoring the childhood memories it carries for him (including the source of its name – from a bath it apparently suffered in the bag on the way home from the store) – and I move it to the back of the tree (it really IS ugly – and it smells funny, too).

Or the string of papier mache pumpkins, hand-made by our older son’s preschool class – yes, we have pumpkins on our Christmas tree – but that’s another story…

And, of course, the tradition of the Advent calendar and the family crèche – adding the figures day by day: sheep, shepherds, donkey, angel, Joseph, Mary and finally the baby Jesus. Telling and re-telling the story of that most amazing night when God himself came to us, became one of us, in order to show us how to come “home” – to find our way closer to him.

In Psalm 145, the author says:

4 One generation commends your works to another;
    they tell of your mighty acts.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

What more wonderful story could we share with our children, than this one? But I also feel challenged – what are the “works” of God, in my own life, in the community and world in which I live, in the past (the history of the world, our country and ancestors, and our own personal family history) that would make good stories to share? What better way to let others see the “mighty acts” and “glorious splendor” of our God?

So, I challenge you – as you are sharing the Christmas stories that are traditions in your family, think about the ways in which God has “shown up” in your own life… and share those stories too.

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