Christmas is a wonderful time of the year to stop, reflect, and take time to catch up with the ones that you love, and also to spend time sharing different holiday traditions with them. My family certainly has a few of those!

One of our most treasured family traditions has been the same for as long as I can remember. It is wrapped in the warmth of time with family and the sound of my dad’s voice.

Every Christmas Eve, my mom and dad would gather us around to listen as my dad would read the beautiful Christmas story from the Bible. We took time to remember the real reason that we celebrate on Christmas day.

As a small child, I looked forward to hearing the story while snuggling up as a family by the fire, admiring the twinkling lights that filled the room. It really brought joy to each of our hearts as the words were being read.

Yes, we had all the traditional decorations with many lights upon our tree. We had handmade ornaments and some that had been passed down through the years, but nothing else mattered when Dad pulled out the big family Bible and began to read.

Looking back, I realize the impact this tradition had on shaping our understanding of Christmas. It wasn’t just a story. It is a true event that held great meaning. The birth of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, is the greatest gift that God has ever given.

As my brother and I grew older, my dad continued this tradition as the family came together year after year on Christmas Eve. There are many more people gathered around now as we’ve added grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and usually one will hop up in his lap as he pulls out the Bible that was read by generations before.

It feels different than it did when I was younger. I feel a strong sense of gratitude knowing that I got to grow up with this tradition that has continued for generations. Knowing that it will continue in future generations brings on overwhelming joy to my heart. It is a reminder every year for all of us that gifts are nice, but that they are not the true reason we celebrate.

When the world would see fit to commercialize and up the value on materialistic things more and more each year, the Bible remains a strong voice of reason. The Word of God doesn’t change. It brings peace and gives meaning.

The true story of Christmas is one of love, sacrifice and joy.

I pray that you experience true joy this season. I pray that amidst the hustle and bustle you will take time to reflect on the real reason we celebrate.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Ashley Carter is a wife, mother, and grandmother living in Elmore County, where she and her husband run Farm to Table Living and Carter Farms. Ashley serves as Controller and Executive Assistant at 1819 News. She is currently working on an inspirational book of short stories. To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email [email protected].

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