It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Arrow Team 2020 Christmas Traditions

by the Arrow Team

[5 minute read]

 

Well, as the above lyrics remind us, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. With all of the complexities and the simplicities of 2020, we very much are finding ourselves in the Christmas season. Christmas has different meanings for many of us and yet at the same time, there is a common purpose and celebration that unites us. This Christmas blog is a compilation of the unique Christmas traditions of the Arrow Team that in some way or another, point us toward the reality of the presence of the one who brings glory to God and peace to all mankind.

From Peter….

For over thirty years we have been sharing Christmas morning with neighbourhood friends.  We take it in turns to host breakfast.  Usually about 20 people.  We’re now into grandchildren and third dogs, having started with toddlers and puppies. It’s a mix of Christian and secular families who’ve been travelling through life together and live in the neighbourhood. It’s not quite the Passover meal, but the menu is simple, lots of people eat standing up and we rush out the door to church or to family gatherings.  The thing that everyone seems to value most is that this is one part of the Christmas circus that is not connected to awkward family obligations or pointless gift exchanges. What’s really interesting is how many of the grown-up kids turn up and value a moment of lasting connection and continuity.

From Rachel….

One of our family Christmas traditions is to sit down together over a meal during December to discuss who to give to that year. Each year we hand around the catalogues of gifts from various organisations and choose gifts that will bless those who have less than us. Some years we give chickens, goats, a cow or water tank. Giving life changing gifts to families who we will likely never meet is something I value every Christmas.

From Cath….

A number of years ago as adults, my brothers and sisters decided the kids were having all the fun at Christmas and instituted a change to the general Christmas programming. We decided to do an ‘odd gift exchange’. Each year a room in the house is chosen and we buy odd presents to be displayed for a full 12 months in that room. It’s brought out a particular brand of sibling rivalry in us and has caused us to consider ‘what is the most embarrassing item I can purchase (for the assigned cost limit) that will be the most mortifying, obvious and difficult to explain in that particular room of their house.’ Last year, the room assigned was bedroom and I managed to find a place that printed photos onto cushions and so throughout 2020 my brother and his wife have daily, decorated their king size bed with 2 cushions adorned with mine and my husband’s faces.

This tradition has brought much joy to our family Christmas, the anticipation of seeing what others have created, knowing what you will have to display in your house for the next 12 months and the huge, belly laughs that ensue on the opening of gifts. These odd gifts have brought much joy not just on the day of Christmas but the days after as we walk through our houses and see on display some of the most hilarious household objects bought in our odd gift exchange. Gold, frankincense and myrrh are really odd gifts to give at a birth. But they also symbolize the joy of the season, the greatest gift ever given and a gift that brings joy, hope and salvation to every day of our lives.

From Liam….

Every year at Christmas the Glovers (my siblings and everyone connected to them) get together to celebrate. There’s usually a turn system, where someone takes responsibility for organising everything – from decorations to presents exchange. When it was my turn, we prioritised a few ideas.

  • That everyone bring something to the table. When sharing a meal together over Christmas, recognising explicitly or implicitly God’s work in the year just past or hopes and dreams for the year to come, everyone brings something to contribute to the common meal. It’s usually their favourite dish, so we end up with random mix of starters, mains and desserts, but an eclectic feast reflects our eclectic extended family. And for me it reflects the family of faith – where, when we gather, we bring our uniqueness to the table as a blessing to others and to God.
  • That we all are creative! In light of that reality, we, instead of spending money on buying gifts, were encouraged to make, grow and or create something using our gifts, skills, abilities or talents. Sure, we might not go home with a gift that we have always wanted (not), but we have brought the Kingdom to bear, in a small way, by honouring our creator by expressing his creative spirit as a blessing to those around us.


From John….

One small Lamerton family Christmas tradition is decorating the tree together. Our girls love randomly placing the decorations - the baubles, Santa-hatted koalas, 2D reindeer, gold bells, paper trees, little gift boxes, as well as soft-toy angels, candy canes and stars. Then on goes the lights, tinsel and of course the glittery star on top. It's an eclectic mix of ornaments because each of our decorations has been a gift. We've never bought a decoration, each has been given to us over the years. It's an obvious reminder of the reason for the Christmas season. PS. We're usually very late to setting up the Christmas tree, but this year we were very early - about 6 weeks - but I don't think we were alone. We're all needing a bit more joy and hope as we celebrate this year, Christ's birth is good at doing that!

From Liesel….

An extended family gathering for Christmas involves a lot of planning with over 50 of us now. So there’s always a list of who is bringing what, and while most of it is food there is also a couple of people assigned to games, because it's not a family gathering with a bit of competitiveness. My cousins and I all grew up as youth leaders in our churches or at Christian camps so it doesn't take long before there are assigned teams, made up rules and inevitably a human pyramid of some kind. From a game of spoons (where all the spoons were at the bottom of the pool) to the year that 20 remote control cars were given, there are always games, laughter and memories made.

As a kid I didn't know any different so thought my family was the norm, but have grown to realise how incredibly blessed I am to be apart of the Rutherford clan who had Grandparents who prayed for us daily, and three generations with now over 60 people all who love Jesus, give generously, actively serve in their churches and make family a priority.
And of course it's not a proper Rutherford Family Christmas until someone has been thrown into the pool fully clothed. #tradition

 

No matter what sort of Christmas traditions you experience this Christmas, I trust you will see them through the lens of Christ. Merry Christmas to you and your family.