Activated - - NEWS - By Jessie Richards Jessie Richards had a role in the pro­duc­tion of Ac­ti­vated from 2001 to 2012, and has writ­ten a num­ber of ar­ti­cles as an Ac­ti­vated staff writer. She has also writ­ten and edited ma­te­rial for other Chris­tian pub­li­ca­tions and web­sites.

I’ve been think­ing how Christ­mas tra­di­tions vary not only from coun­try to coun­try, but from fam­ily to fam­ily.

The food

In some coun­tries, the clas­sic main dish is a ham or roast pork; in oth­ers, a turkey, goose, duck, chicken, cod­fish, tamales, pier­o­gis, or an as­sort­ment of cheeses. An asado (bar­be­cue) of a whole lamb, calf, or pig is com­mon in coun­tries in the south­ern hemi­sphere where Christ­mas falls dur­ing the warm months of the year.

The side dishes, desserts, and bev­er­ages are even more var­ied, and within each fam­ily, spe­cific and multi-lay­ered. Many fam­i­lies com­bine sev­eral tra­di­tions.

The presents

Some chil­dren get their presents on De­cem­ber 24th, oth­ers on the 25th, still oth­ers on Jan­uary 6th. Some fam­i­lies spread them out across a cou­ple of days, or even twelve days. When I vis­ited my mother’s very large ex­tended Pol­ish fam­ily for the first time, I learned about their par­tic­u­lar Christ­mas tra­di­tion of hav­ing one of the un­cles dress up as Santa and give presents to all the chil­dren af­ter din­ner on Christ­mas Eve.

Al­most ev­ery­one loves Christ­mas, but how ex­actly they love it, what it means to them, and how they in­ter­act with the hol­i­day and with one an­other dur­ing the sea­son, varies from per­son to per­son. I think that’s a bit like Je­sus Him­self and what He means to each of us. He makes Him­self known to us, speaks to us, and works in our lives ac­cord­ing to who we are and what we need. And yet, the core of who He is al­ways re­mains—God’s Son, our Sav­ior.

In the Bi­ble, Je­sus is re­ferred to as many things—“the Good Shep­herd,”

1 “the bread of life,” “the light of the

2 world,” “the way, the truth, and the

3 life,” and “the res­ur­rec­tion and the

4 life,” among oth­ers.

5 He is also a healer, a de­fender of

6 the vul­ner­a­ble, and my fa­vorite—a

7 friend. One can imag­ine Je­sus say­ing

8 to­day “I am your con­fi­dant,” “I am your ther­a­pist,” or even “I am your BFF.” God’s orig­i­nal in­tro­duc­tion to Moses was sim­ply “I Am who I Am.”

9 He is, and He is in each of our lives, and He comes to us in the way that we need Him—at Christ­mas­time, and all year long. 1. John 10:11,14 2. John 6:35 3. John 8:12 4. John 14:6 5. John 11:25 6. E.g., John 9 7. See John 8:1–11. 8. See John 15:13–15. 9. Ex­o­dus 3:14

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