Comfort in Customs
By Hally Franz –
While some might call it misery, living in the Midwest offers something that some parts of the country don’t. Those of us in the middle enjoy a very distinct change of seasons, where summer is hot and humid, winter cold and icy, and spring and fall colorfully bridge the two. It’s my favorite thing about where we live. Unfailing weather and scenic changes signal us not only to dress and entertain ourselves differently, but also to anticipate the seasonal customs to come.
In most homes, children instinctively know what and how holiday season’s activities will be celebrated. At the Franz house, Mom’s rule states that Christmas movies cannot be viewed until Thanksgiving has come and gone; we won’t cheat Thanksgiving for The Griswolds. Each year we ladies have a shopping weekend, and everyone knows lists must be ready before we leave.
When decorating begins, our daughter remembers which rooms house the various nativity scenes and international Santas, and her brother reminds Dad when it’s time to begin the lights. For years now, my mom has assigned a country to our Christmas celebration. She serves up food and trivia from a chosen country. While some resist the learning aspect of this, it has become great fun and a routine part of each year’s events. There will be preparation of Operation Christmas Child boxes, a school program, a 4-H party and our New Year’s Eve gathering with dear friends. Most is standard holiday stuff, but each family develops their unique spin and set of holiday customs. Kids enjoy and need these take-it-to-the-bank traditions.
Many children do not have the security and comfort that comes with knowing what comes next. They aren’t sure where, how and with whom they’ll spend Christmas. And, worse yet, they don’t fully understand what they’re celebrating. Kids need to be able to count on something, at special and ordinary times of the year, each day and every hour.
When we faulty and frail humans fail one another, there is peace in knowing that there is always one sure thing. God sent His Son for us. His birth provided hope for mankind, and His death and resurrection redemption for us. During the Christmas season, we should celebrate a lot, recognizing the Christ Child at the center of each event. And, we should share a lot, giving young and old the message of God’s unfailing love.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, and thank You for the promise of forgiveness. Remind us that though we can’t count on the world, we can put our faith in You.
“And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us” (Luke 2:15 KJV).
Today’s devotion is by Hally Franz. Hally is a former teacher and high school guidance counselor, turned homemaker. She enjoys volunteering at her children’s school, teaching Bible classes at her church, leading projects in 4-H, writing, reading, scrapbooking and rousing (though, sometimes, not pretty) zumba classes.