My sister was always the one who would jump out of bed in the dark early morning on Christmas day to wake the rest of us to open presents. She’s always been a morning person, my twin in appearance and voice and style but in this? We couldn’t be more different. We would wait impatiently for coffee to brew, the smell pleasant and welcoming even in my childhood. Gifts sorted in piles, each with their own special wrapping paper to help the gift-giver remember which present went to which child, the fireplace crackling, Mannheim Steamroller playing softly in the background, anticipation building.
Not a perfect childhood, but a loved one. Not an elaborate morning, but one that has engrained itself deep into my heart. Family, together. Laughing and showing gratitude and thinking of one another, paying attention to likes and dislikes and getting it right most of the time. And learning how to respond in grace when we got it wrong or were disappointed by unmet expectations (oh there were tears. And lessons still being learned on this one.)
There is something more I want to build into my own family’s traditions around Christmas. I want the smells of welcoming coffee and images of twinkling lights to root themselves into our hearts, but more than that, I want the reason we celebrate – the one, unforgettable, unimaginable, preciously perfect reason – to be the legacy we pass down. When my daughter is grown and her own children are stumbling bleary-eyed and excited out into the living room to see what Christmas holds, I want her to share the greatest gift first, because that’s what she remembers from our home.
The greatest gift – God’s only son, sent for us. The reason that lives beyond torn wrapping paper and glittering bows. The “who” behind it all. I want to start now, when this love for Jesus is so beautifully present in my toddler’s heart. I want to start now, knowing it’s never too late to insert some child-like joy into the season, no matter how old we are or what we grew up doing each year. So this year we’ll do our best to be intentional about our time together – and while we make cookies and listen to Christmas music and watch movies, we’ll read about the greatest gift we’ve ever received.
We’ll read and sing and touch the ornaments and hang them on the tree in celebration and remembrance and legacy. And when my little girl is grown, maybe she’ll take them with her when she starts her family, and they’ll do the same. Over coffee and snuggles, under the twinkling lights.
If you would like to start your own tradition and celebration of the greatest gift, we have just what you need to get started! Pick up a copy of Ann Voskamp’s “The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas,” or her newest release, “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas,” along with a set of brand new The Greatest Gift ornaments (available in both paper and a beautiful legacy set made of sculpted resin).
Start a new tradition with family, or if you’re looking to do something this holiday season with friends, purchase a copy of “The Greatest Gift 4 Session Group Study DVD” and invite some sweet sisters into your home this year. Read together, drink hot chocolate, take turns hanging the ornaments, share stories and celebrate together.
We’d love to know: How would you celebrate with these beautiful new ornaments? How would you incorporate them into your Christmas traditions?