While holidays provide times to thank God, and celebrate Christ’s birth, so often we get caught up in the familiar patterns we’ve always followed. Turkeys, trees, trimmings. Cookies, cakes and gaining weight. That’s all ok. But I think many men just show up, instead of getting involved and taking the lead.
We all have holiday family traditions. Some are handed down, others are created by accident. Some traditions we’d rather never happened. But I think God’s man can play a greater role. What if we intentionally created a new tradition(s) that honored God and others — and was fun to boot?
Here are a couple of traditions in the Luck family:
- We “Ding-Dong-Ditch” a single mom. That’s right, we ring the doorbell and run but not after leaving presents on her porch for her and each child that are age and gender specific. This combines dangerousness with goodness. My favorite Holiday giving moment. We save change all year, count it, go to the bank, get dollars, and my kids go shopping for others. Me and my son Ryan are NAVY SEALS on delivery, insertion, and extraction. HUGE fun.
- We keep a Christmas journal. There’s a picture each year, stories of presents, the names we have given our two Christmas trees, and other specific info related to that year’s X-mas festivities and happenings. It is a precious little book and my son has taken it on to be the family scribe with HONOR.
Holidays have treasured moments waiting to be opened, and I’m not talking about gifts wrapped under a tree. I’m talking about memories. Memories of togetherness, moments with meaning, memories that last. Let me encourage you to think and pray about trying something new this year. You don’t have to announce to the family, “We’re starting a new tradition.” As Nike would say, just do it.
Here are a few ideas for new traditions that honor God and others.
10 New Traditions Ideas:
- Invite unsaved men or families to your festivities. This is the “Get In” concept that leads to “Get Healthy” which we endorse at Every Man Ministries.
- Make clean-up a family affair, and give the chef a break. Make a game out of it, or play a game together after the dishes are done.
- Draw closer to God, adding time of prayer, reflection and/or learning during the free time. Journal your inspiration. Then reflect, renew annually. Consider being like Paul, and write letters to your spouse, children and/or parents, perhaps even to yourself.
- Turn off the TV and other devices and replace with a family moment, discussion, Bible reading or prayer. Or turn on the TV to watch “The Bible” mini-series or “The Jesus Film” or even “Passion of the Christ.”
- Create a new tradition of giving or serving, i.e. Feeding the poor, delivering a meal or dessert to someone in need.
- Develop your own personal “theme” for the holidays, and carry it out. For example, a theme could be “Sing a new song.” Add a musical touch, sing a song, learn a new one, or share a new group or favorite song with others.
- Honor your father and mother. Show them your respect and love in a new way. Be creative. Parents love attention from their children.
- Volunteer at church. Usher, join a prayer team, decorate etc…find a need and fill it.
- Host a men’s night out — or “in” — for a good cause, i.e. Get together to decide what the group could do.
- Make a lavish gift. Select a cause or Christian ministry, and ask God to lead you to what you can give. God loves a cheerful giver, and you will reap much more than you sow.
Have a tradition to share? Have an idea for a new tradition? Please add your comment below!
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Kenny Luck, founder and president of Every Man Ministries, is the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, and has a great deal of experience in leading men through their walk with God. His program Sleeping Giant empowers men to take the experience of a men’s ministry and bring it to their own communities. Watch Kenny’s teachings at EveryManMinistries.com.