Finding Spiritual Blessings In Secular Traditions

Today was deck the halls day at our bungalow. I must admit that each year I anticipate this year… with great disdain. I know… all the ladies are shaking their heads. But I also know all the (honest) guys are saying… me too!

So that’s how I started. Not very excited. Certainly not very spiritual. I did get into it after awhile. What really got me into the Christmas spirit was a conversation with our 8-year-old. She asked, “Dad, why do we put up Christmas trees anyways?” Then, just as quickly, she answered her own question, “It’s because God wants us to do work together as a family and have lots of fun, right?” Wow!

From that talk I went into investigation mode. Part of me wanted to be able to answer her initial question. After all, I had heard the stories of the “spiritual significance” of Christmas trees. And how cool would it be to be able to pass along that information to my children? What I found was closer to the reality of the up’s and down’s/high’s and low’s of Christianity itself…

There were, in fact, historically-proven times where the Christmas tree (and the whole decorating thing) had great spiritual emphasis. And my temptation was to tell that part and stop. As with our Christian and modern version of many of the holidays, I am often guilty of only emphasizing the Christian part of that history and stopping. But these symbols were just as pagan in some times as they were religious in others.

So I gave the kids both pieces of information. Then we went back to the earlier point made by my daughter when she asked the insightful question about origin. Isn’t it about doing things together and having lots of fun? Absolutely! If I can be reminded of the significance of the Trinity along the way or think of the majesty of that fir (in our case, plastic) tree pointing heavenward… extra bonus!

But the point I will take to my pillow tonight is that we had a blast today working together as a family. Laughing. Burning old wooden ornaments in the fire place (sorry I’m a bit of a pyro). And just being what God intended us to be… family. Now that’s a spiritual blessing.

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