Change is Never Easy…

~Julie Chatfield, Children’s Ministry Director
A couple of weeks ago, in the Kids Zone during Advent, I had an unusually small class that consisted of only third grade girls.  We began the lesson, reading the story of the birth of Jesus from Luke, doing the worksheet and then having some time to listen to Christmas music while crafting the manger scene and decorating some Christmas cookies.  The vibe was good.  As we sat around munching our snack, I asked these young ladies to share their Christmas morning traditions.   It probably comes as no surprise that kids love to talk about Christmas, so this idea was not a hard sell.  We began going around the circle each one excitedly sharing.  One student awakes at 1 a.m., sits on the couch and stares with a big smile at the presents under the tree.  She does this until sunrise which is when the opening begins.  Some of the kids open their stockings at free will at any time of night.  Others had to wait until the entire house was awake, which apparently was a brutal time of 7 a.m.  When it came time for me to share, I told that when my kiddos were young they were able to open their stockings at any time during the night but they had to wait until a brutal 8 a.m. and until one cup of coffee was consumed before any of the gifts could be touched.  All of this talk on tradition reminded me of the day before when I was visiting my daughter Jessica.  She is 22, is graduated from college, has a job and is living in her own apartment.  We were laying on her bed.  I habit I have in anticipation of casual chit chat that usually leads to her sharing something important.  This day was no different.   I can’t remember what eluded to the conversation exactly, but she announced she wanted to sleep at her place on Christmas Eve and to wake in her apartment Christmas morning.  And just like that, our Christmas morning traditions had changed.  Honestly, I wasn’t ready for the shift in my Christmas tradition.  The one where everyone is in the house and opens their stockings at any point during the night.  I wasn’t ready to give up drinking coffee before a single piece of wrapping could be ripped.  But as I lay on my responsible adult daughters bed anticipating her to say something important, in her simple and honest request I realized traditions change.  It is something that happens as life goes on, we are suddenly faced with letting go of traditions that no longer apply.  And then we try and find a blending of what’s past and what’s to come.  Change is never easy, and sometimes it’s a little sad.  But as the New Year begins, and when traditions change, be open to where Christ is pointing us to go in anticipation of what’s to come.