At the Cherry house, Christmas traditions are very important to us. Every year we look forward to a marathon gift opening time on Christmas morning when each one of us gives a gift, no matter how small, to everyone else. Yes, all twelve of us, plus our daughter-in-law Tara, our two grandchildren, and now for the first time this year, our son-in-law Adam. Anyone care to do the math on that?
We treasure our family traditions, but I’ve found that it’s important to be willing to make adjustments with them when necessary. That’s what we did last year, when we made a significant departure from our usual tradition of putting up a Christmas tree. It was the year I broke down and agreed to put up two Christmas trees.
The controversy over the style of our tree had been brewing for a few years. The younger children clamored for a tree well-clad with gaudy treasures from Christmases past, with every multi-colored strand of lights and handmade bauble added on for good measure.
The older girls, meanwhile, were becoming much more sophisticated in their style. “Mother, that tree looks so homemade! We want one more like Gram’s—all one color and well-balanced.”
Oh the joys of parenting children of diverse ages. Differing views, differing styles, differing giftings.
I think my Christmas tree challenges taught me a good lesson. I am never a fan of pampering children so that they do not experience the disciplining effect of working together with their peers. But sometimes allowing individual expression of views preserves dignity. Sometimes we all need to remember that God’s creation has multiple expressions of beauty.
Lord, help me to recognize the moments when I need to stand back and celebrate the unique views of each of my family members. God sometimes I inappropriately label different as wrong. Let Your values of beauty and love arise in my home, and help us, Lord, to lift one another up.
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