Day 11 of Holiday Traditions // Chantel Oney

A Time for Celebrating the Perfect Gift!

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6: 4-9

At this season in my life, much of what happens is centered on the growth and personal development of my two boys, Caleb (9) and Israel (8). Honestly, their current stage of life is critical for their tomorrow, their next week, their next few months, their teenage years - yikes! In essence, my husband and I must continually recognize that what we do or don’t do today can have a tremendous impact on them for eternity.

Neither my husband nor myself grew up with very strong Christmas traditions. Because of that, many of our traditions differ from the norm - they are not so much about what we do - although doing has its place - as they are about what we say.

My husband and I knew very early in our marriage that we hoped to personally embody and verbally communicate the behavior we wanted our children to emulate. We are very passionate about living as we desire our children to live. For our family, Christmas can look very different. While our children receive gifts and as a family we engage in many cultural rituals, our hope is what we give them at Christmas is about much more than that.

As parents, two redeemed sinners, we have been given the greatest challenge of our lives:  the impressing, the molding, and the shaping of two boys to live out their faith with boldness and confidence for the One who gave it all for them. Working against us is a culture that bombards children with images of immediate gratification, relativism, sexism, and distortion of the truth.

Our children have known since a young age that Santa Claus is not a real person. We realize many disagree with this approach, but my husband and I want to be careful not to allow popular opinion to tell us how to build strong young men for Jesus. Many might say that we are taking all the fun out of Christmas, removing the suspense of presents mysteriously showing up on Christmas Day. What suspense??? My children do not care who gave them a gift; they just want presents just like all children do!

However, we do tell our children that Christ came, took on our sin and gave us the gift of eternal life because He loves us. We love because He first loved us. We give because He gave, unconditionally, undeservingly. In trying to communicate these truths, it can be quite disturbing to realize our children are able to believe in a man who rides a sleigh with twelve reindeer delivering presents all over the world in the span of 24-hours. And these same children are confused about the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ! While it may sound like I am over-spiritualizing Christmas, I would want to say, “Yes, and why not?”

Christmas has lost so much of its integrity, its value, and its meaning all for the sake of culture and wanting to make everyone feel good instead of celebrating Christ. But has it worked?

Christians need to be willing to admit that it has become far too common to fall prey to this new ideology of Christmas. We search for the “perfect” gift and we overextend ourselves all for the sake of our new definition of Christmas.

But there is hope - we can help restore Christmas’s true meaning, its true worth. As we remember Christ is the perfect gift, we can give Him back His proper place for our own sakes and for the sake of our children.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

  • How do your current traditions reinforce what you want your family to focus on during Christmas?
  • What traditions could be distracting you and your family from the real meaning and celebration of Jesus?
  • How do you keep the joy of Christmas special without it becoming strictly seasonal for your family/children/grandchildren?

Please share your response in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group. #undividedwomen

// Chantel 

Chantel Oney loves Jesus and is passionate about her stewardship to her children. Aside from her children, she enjoys mentoring young adults and providing them with essential business skills. A college professor, Chantel has a BA in Business Leadership, a Masters of Business Administration and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration. She is college professor and receives great joy and satisfaction in not only teaching business principles but mentoring students to be warriors for Christ regardless of the occupation or place of service. One of her greatest accomplishments is serving four years in the United States Air Force.
On a personal note, Chantel enjoys recreating food into anything healthy and loves to do anything from strength and interval training to kickboxing. She and her husband have been married just under 14 years, and have two adorable, energized sons with an abundance of southern chivalry. Chantel and her family are members of Ridgecrest Baptist Church.