Tag Archives: family traditions

#FailTraditions

18 Dec

Remember when I wrote that we didn’t have any traditions for Christmas? Well, it is not completely and utterly true. Like facebooking, blogging can also be deceitful! So even though I said that traditions become irrelevant in the light of Christmas being about Jesus, I happen to have a few traditions of my own.

I do. – Insert **shock and horror** face!

They are a bit different from the more common traditions that we hear about and they are mostly out of my control.

#1. My first tradition is my kids asking “so….. what is our christmas tree going to be this year?” with a vaguely interested tone of voice!

0I will be blunt and say that the traditional christmas tree just doesn’t do it for me. I don’t think they’re ugly but I don’t want them in my living room for one month. I’m not a fan of ‘fake’ anything (flowers, marble, gold…) and the ‘real’ ones look a bit miserable in the 32 degrees. But I looooove fairly lights. I think fairy lights should be up all year round. So every year, I need to find an alternative  that will allow me to enjoy a season of  their ambience setting.

This year, I saw a beautiful tree made of plank with writings on it and thought “Rats, if I were not so lazy I would totally make that!” and low and behold, my friend, without  knowing that I liked that idea, made it, painted it and gave it to me as a christmas present! So our tree – for 2012 – is made of white-painted planks with Mark 10:45 written on it (my very professional picture does not allow you to read the verse but it is painted in beautiful red handwriting “He came to give his life as a ransom for many”)

#2. My second tradition is a bi-annual December trip to the ER for Killian’s acrobatic prowesses.

WARNING: Do NOT try these experiences at home without the supervision of an adult.

5 years ago, he opened his forehead on the corner of a furniture trying to run away from me (that will teach him).

3 years ago, he decided to jump from the roof of our jungle gym onto the umbrella, hoping to bounce back into the pool. No, his plan did not work out and yes, he ended up with a hole in his skull.

Last year, he tried to jump off the rope in our garden, misjudging the backward momentum effect and ended up breaking his arm – 6 week in a cast with no swimming!

And a few days ago, he jumped in the pool grabbing the concrete side at the same time and landed on his chin. A 2 hour wait and 3 stitches later, he proudly wears another big plaster on his face.

It seems that we became very fond of tradition #2; so even though we planned on only making it a bi-annual trip, it seems that we’re speeding it up and did it again this year. Watch this space?!

At 30

At 7At 8

#3. My third tradition is having a very disappointed mum because the parcel she sent a month ago did not arrive in time for Christmas.

Disclaimer: All comments about the South African postal services might be an overreaction and an exaggeration as there are still a few days before that parcel shows up!!

My mum who can’t be with us for Christmas always sends a lovely parcel with exciting goodies for everyone. Every year, she prepares it well in advance but the south african postal services are not as efficient as the french ones. They might be friendlier but friendliness does not count as much as french mustard and mayonnaise!

And there you have it! You too can make up your own traditions! Happy Christmas!

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Santa and other forbidden words…

7 Dec

ChristmasTraditions

Christmas traditions.

If you are like many of my christian friends, the word makes you boil with enthusiasm and your crafts, paints, baking utensils, homemade jar cookies and your blog posts are all a ‘tick’ away! If you’re like me, the word makes you shudder.

The build-up to Christmas is really enjoyable. I love Christmas and all the celebrations around it. Some have a christian character attached to it, like  Carol concerts, Operation Christmas box but others do not, like family coming together, gifts and cockroach-killings.

For many christian families, Christmas is also celebrating with binding traditions. Some go to great lengths to make these traditions very christian. Whether they feel that these traditions make them more Christians than others, I cannot say. But one thing I am convinced of, is that none of these traditions bring them or their families closer to Jesus.

I generally have no desire to be ‘the same’ as everyone, which comes easily: I became a christian in my 20s and I’m french. My culture and my background are distinctly not the traditional brand of Christianity we tend to read on family blogs. But nobody wants to be different in the “weird” or “less christian” kind of way. It took me great many years to come to terms with the fact that we are not enthused by Christmas traditions. It’s a taming process to remind myself that my children’s fate, whether they will live for the Lord faithfully or not, does not depend on the way Christmas is celebrated (even if Santa is included – which he isn’t – but it’s worth mentioning really… Sorry, I had a relapse)

The essence of Christmas and simply and purely celebrating the birth of Jesus. Whether you buy into the commercialisation of Christmas fully, half-heartedly or not at all doesn’t define you as a more godly person as long as you remember that at the centre of Christmas is, and is only, the birth of Jesus.

Unfortunately, my readership is not nearly big enough to have an impact but if you, like me, feel that you don’t always fit the mould, do not fret!!! God is only concerned about your first love in your heart. And it isn’t your family traditions.

Un-traditional

10 May

I read that family traditions instill into your children your family values, strengthen family identity, connect generations, build great memories and make us stop in the bustle of the busy day to remember the important things in life.

We are not a family with traditions.

If someone asks me what our traditional “insert celebration here” looks like, I would be at a loss for words. Of course we celebrate the christian festivals for their christian meaning, and like typical kids growing up in a christian family, our children know the meaning of Christmas and Easter, details and all. But mention the word ‘tradition’ and my hair stands up in this fashion:

The reason I look like  a cat being electrocuted when I think of christian family traditions is probably because, while we do not have them, I have felt the peer pressure of having a craft ready for every occasion and an appropriate way to display it (the possibilities are endless). I have felt the fear that my kids are missing out, the fear that their creativity is not explored, their knowledge not expanded, their spiritual horizons narrowed. I panicked, I accused, I banned, ridiculed and begged (#how christians react to their insecurities)

I go through such a range of emotions because I allowed other mums (through their window shopping display) to dictate the standard of what my family should look like. The danger in comparing yourself to others is that there will always be someone ‘being more’ or ‘being less’. The comparison trap either leads to pride or despair. Personally, if I’m going to compare our “christianness” according to the activities other families do (be it crafts, songs, meals, dances or treasure hunts), then I can not measure up. Not only do I not have the creative energy for it, but I also lack the inclination for it – I couldn’t be bothered to be bothered.

So why do I have sweaty palms just thinking about December and April? The truth is that, if I’m being led by my emotions (and particularly fear), then my motives are wrong. I do not want to do anything out of fear, but rather out of conviction. If I am convicted that my kids are going to be worse off without the baking of the resurrection cookies, then I must do it. If I am convicted that receiving gifts for Christmas will take them further away from knowing Jesus, I must take the presents away.

So I calmed down.

Under the regular and rightful reminder of my husband that we resist peer pressure and submit to God’s Word only, and with the reassurance from older friends with godly grown up kids, I slowly realize that we are the family that we are, not carefully planning out the craft for Christmas, but being intentional in loving the Lord just as faithfully. Isn’t that enough?

We don’t do crafts together for Easter and we don’t bake together for Christmas. But together, among other things and in different ways, we love Jesus, we serve Him, we talk to Him and about Him. Together we fail Him and apologize to Him. And if these are the only precious memories that my kids will treasure one day, I will consider it a priceless blessing.

We are un-traditional and I make peace with it.

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