Christ-Centered Traditions
December 1995

“Christ-Centered Traditions,” Ensign, Dec. 1995, 62–63

Christ-Centered Traditions

“Christmas celebrations are sometimes more of a burden than a holiday,” my friend commented one morning. “I wish I could find more ways to bring the true meaning of Christmas into my home.”

I, too, had these same feelings. As I looked around at the tinsel and trappings of the commercialized holiday, I longed to be able to understand the angels’ song: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). I prayerfully pondered the problem of how to make Christmas more meaningful. At length my answer came in a simple, reverent thought: I needed to develop Christ-centered family traditions.

I immediately sat down and began to record my ideas. Over the next few days my list grew. I then contacted family members and neighbors for their suggestions as well. The product of these days of brainstorming is a long list of ideas we use to bring the true spirit of Christmas—the Spirit of Christ—into our home during the holidays and throughout the year. We found that the suggestions on the list fell naturally into three categories: service, family, and worship. Here are some of those ideas that can help make the Christmas season more meaningful and fulfilling.

Service—Goodwill toward Men

  • Go caroling.

  • Invite a lonely person to join you for Christmas dinner and other celebrations.

  • Secretly deliver treats or gifts to someone in your neighborhood.

  • Volunteer at a local charitable organization.

  • Visit a nursing home or other care facility.

Family—Peace on Earth

  • Let paper chains, straws in the manger, or other ornaments represent the good deeds of family members.

  • Exchange some gifts of service rather than store-bought presents exclusively.

  • For family home evening, have each family member tell a favorite Christmas story from the scriptures, Church magazines, or other sources.

  • Listen to Christmas carols together as you bake, clean, and prepare for the holidays.

Worship—Glory to God

  • Display a picture of Christ or a nativity scene in a prominent place in the home.

  • Read as a family the biblical accounts of Christ’s birth as well as the account in the Book of Mormon (see Hel. 14, Hel. 16; 3 Ne. 1).

  • Act out the story of Christ’s birth.

  • Discuss the spiritual meanings of Christmas symbols.

  • Spend time naming and giving thanks for gifts from Heavenly Father.

Now that we include some of these activities in our lives, our children have learned to enjoy serving at home and in the community. Christmas has taken on deeper significance as we reflect together on the real meaning of the holiday.—Ronda Hinrichsen, Perry, Utah

Illustrated by Jerry Harston

Photo by Welden Andersen