Maybe your family always reads “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” together on Christmas Eve. Maybe you eat the same dinner of ham and mashed potatoes every Christmas. Maybe you have a tradition that was passed down through the generations from other countries or cultures, like hiding a pickle ornament in your tree for one of your children to find. Whatever your Christmas traditions are, they’re beautiful and meaningful because they have sentimental value to you and your family.
With as much diversity as we see in the ways we celebrate the birth of Christ in America, it’s important to remember that the differences in those traditions are magnified even more when you look at how Christmas is celebrated globally. Each different tradition points toward a God who is big enough to identify with all of us, regardless of our culture, ethnicity or heritage.
On Christmas Day, there are Christians huddled up by fires in Traverse City, Michigan, while others are grilling out in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A child is unwrapping presents in Surprise, Arizona, while a child in Copenhagen, Denmark, is still bragging about finding a whole almond in his rice pudding on Christmas Eve. A family in Tupelo, Mississippi, is reading the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke and a family in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is eating a traditional Christmas dinner of curry and bread together with their church family.
Today, people all over the world are praising God in a multitude of languages and cultures for taking on the form of a child and bringing the gift of salvation for all. Hundreds of thousands of small gestures are all pointing back to one event 2,000 years ago that forever changed the course of human history. Each of them is unique and each of them is beautiful. Each small tradition serves as a reminder of just how profound and constant and universal of a gift we have in Emmanuel.
God with us ... God with all of us.
On behalf of all us here at Christ In Youth, I want to wish you – wherever and however you’re celebrating the coming of our Messiah – a very Merry Christmas!
Brad Warren is an Engage program administrator for Christ In Youth. His email is email@example.com.