Listening to “Grandmas Christmas Visit” made me think of some of my own family’s favorite Christmas traditions. On Christmas Day, my family always has a traditional Christmas dinner of…pizza. Why pizza? I don’t know. It’s not very Christmasy, but that’s what we do.
After pepperoni and sausage, my mom pulls out a Jesus Birthday Cake and we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Then we kids blow out the candles. Of course, we only have a few candles, since over 2000 is a few too many to fit on one cake!
Even though it’s a small tradition, it was always very special to me because it reminds me that—even with all the lights and presents and parties and food—the true reason for Christmas is the birth Jesus, the person who was there when the world was created and the one who can save us from our sins.
Traditions can create great family memories. And some traditions can help us remember why we celebrate! I think it’s great how Grandma Lucia’s tradition of ¬¬Las Posadas acted as a reminder of the true story of Christmas.
What are some Christmas traditions you celebrate with your family? Are there any traditions you learned from your grandparents? How did they celebrate Christmas differently when they were children than you do today? Tell us all about it here!
One day not long ago, I was in charge of a youth group trip to a local inner city ministry.
We were there to hang up clothes that people had donated for the poor. Some of the boys were carrying in big boxes of clothes, some of the girls were folding them, and I was in the corner trying to untangle a bunch of metal hangers. As my task continued, I realized that there was a reason my mom decided to get rid of all her metal hangers in favor of plastic! Soon I was muttering mean names at the tangled glob of hangers.
As I continued to slowly sort out the hanger, I didn’t notice that the others had stopped working. The boys starting putting on hats, gloves, and snowsuits from the donated clothing and started a mock snowball fight with donated pairs of socks. The girls took the opportunity to see if they could fit into some prom dresses that were hanging in the corner.
When I finally saw what was going on, I felt a mixture of disappointment and anger with everyone else for getting so off track. Didn’t they know that we were there to work?!
Then I realized that wasn’t why we were there. We were there to help people and serve God. My attitude was just as poor as the other kids. Even though I was still working, I was grumbling at my hanger tangle and feeling angry about how long my job was taking.
Like the folks at Whit’s End in “The Malted Milkball Falcon,” I was doing good work, but I wasn’t doing it for the glory of God. My heart wasn’t in the right place. Matthew, Jay, Emily, and Priscilla were doing a good thing by holding the rockathon to raise money. But they were so focused on their task, they lied about staying awake all night. While doing good works, they forgot to do it for God’s glory.
When I realized that I was acting poorly at the inner city ministry, I said a quick prayer to ask God to correct my attitude…and then went to tell the other kids to get back to work.
Have you ever tried to help someone but had the wrong attitude? What happened when you had the right attitude? Tell us all about it in the comments below!
I’m not the most punctual of persons, meaning I’m usually running late. So when I started college it was not unusual for me to be running out the door with just a few minutes to get to class. One typical day I was rushing to class when I realized that the main road I had to take was under construction, and traffic was backed way up! So, I sat there, praying that traffic would move so I wouldn’t be late for class, when suddenly, my car made a “putt, putt, putt” noise and…stopped. I tried to restart it. Nothing. I looked at the gas gage. Empty. Wonderful, now I was stuck in the middle of the road, blocking traffic, and I couldn’t do anything about it. Holding back tears of frustration I dug in my purse for my cell phone, intending to call my dad, just a few minutes away, to come and help me. I dug and dug, no cell phone! That’s when I remembered that I’d forgotten to put it away after using it last. Now the tears did come. I was stuck! What was I supposed to do?
Thankfully, a few of the construction men came over and helped me; they pushed my car out of traffic, and also let me borrow a phone so I could call my dad. In the ten minutes it took for my dad to get there, I sat in my car remembering all the times my parents told me to be sure I allowed plenty of time to get to class, to always have enough gas in my car, to remember my cell phone. Of course I was ready for, and fully deserved the words my dad laughingly (and lovingly) said when he finally arrived: “I told you so”. He had told me so, but I hadn’t listened, thinking I was responsible enough to worry about all those things myself.
Well, I learned a lot that day, 1) always make sure I have gas in my car, 2) construction men are very helpful, and 3) my parents are very smart people. I thought I could take on all that responsibility and do things my own way, but my parents knew (and still know!) better than I do. When they let me do things like drive the car, they expect me to honor that responsibility and not abuse it by letting the gas get too low.
Responsibility is important, like the Parker kids learned in “An Agreeable Nanny.” They thought they were ready for more responsibility, but when they got the opportunity to prove it, they made mistakes. We may think we’re ready to handle more responsibility, but our parents know better than we do. They know how much we can really handle. And when they give us a little more responsibility, it’s up to us to prove that they made the right choice!
What are some situations where your parents have given you responsibility? How did you handle those situations? Share your comments below!
Around this time of year we hear a lot about being thankful. At my house, we put kernels of corn or fall leaves in a basket and name a thing that we’re thankful for. My list usually includes my mom and dad, food to eat, a house to live in, toys to play with, Adventures in Odyssey to listen to…and the list goes on. I have a lot of things to be thankful for. But the more I read my Bible and listen to Odyssey, the more I realize that I have so many things to add to my list.
The gang in Odyssey learned this lesson in “A Thankstaking Story.” All of the things they usually would usually put on their “thankful” list was gone. All they had was a cold, dark Whit’s End, a blowtorch, and some soggy ice cream. But through the zany story they told, they realized that Thanksgiving isn’t just about being thankful for “stuff.” Thanksgiving is about the love of God.
If I were stuck inside on Thanksgiving Day, I bet that I could find a lot of things to be thankful for. I could be thankful for God, for the fact that He loves me and sent us His son Jesus for me. I could be thankful that I was able to pray and talk to God whenever I want. And I could thank God that I can live as His child.
Even though it’s easier to be thankful when we have lots of things, we can be thankful anytime. Even the evil Scrunch realized that. When the Magloos were praying, Thanksgiving was still happening! It was happening in their hearts.
What “stuff” are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? What has God done for you that no one can take away, even if all your stuff is gone? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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