When my first son was born in October 1984, he received a Hallmark Christmas ornament for a gift. A colorful train engine. He also received two others commemorating “Baby’s First Christmas.” That was the beginning of the tradition.
At the very same time, I also planned how it would end.
Such a perfect plan. Every year I would purchase at least two ornaments for my son. In the distant future, when he was grown and living on his own, I would select one from each year to pass on to him. He would have at least 25-30 cute little Hallmark ornaments to adorn his first Christmas tree. And I would still have one from each year for mine. When my second son was born, I began collecting for him also. What a perfect plan!
Surely this legacy would be meaningful to them. Wouldn’t it?
The time came. Yes, the long, anticipated point in my oldest son’s life when I would pass on the memories to him.
He and his high school sweetheart married after college.
Oh, the wonderful tradition of collecting ornaments so I could pass them on was about to end. I felt so accomplished as a mom!
My daughter-in-love had been part of my life for 10 years before they married, so I knew how much she and her mom loved to decorate for the holidays. However, I was new to this mother-in-law thing and never for one minute considered the importance of her feelings in my plan.
The thought never entered my head that not everyone was obsessed with collecting a hodge-podge of Hallmark ornaments. Why had I expected my obsession to be as important to someone else?
When my son very gently suggested that I should just go ahead and keep that box of carefully selected treasures, I was stunned! When he sweetly told me they probably meant more to me than they ever would to him and his wife, I was crushed. I had waited 25 years for that moment and it just blew up in my face!
How could they not want all those cute, precious memories to adorn their first Christmas tree? I wasn’t just disappointed—I was ticked off! Feeling scorned and rejected, I tried my best to be a big girl about the situation. Don’t remember exactly what happened next, but more than likely I told my son it was OK and hung up the phone. Then sat down and cried!
A few weeks later I visited their home. Their beautifully decorated home. My daughter-in-love’s exquisite talent and bubbly personality were on display all over the house. And my son was beaming with joy with what she had created—for the two of them.
It was their first Christmas. In their first home. Making their own Christmas memories.
And their Christmas tree was decorated with lovely, color-coordinated ornaments and bows. How silly of me to have expected my son and his wife to decorate their tree like mine.
My daughter-in-law didn’t know my son had told me to keep the ornaments. He told me because he didn’t want my ways to be imposed on her. His devotion was to his wife! Not to his mom. When I learned that little tidbit, I was ever so thankful.
And now? They have their very own precious little girl. The beginning of new traditions.
As people (and years) come and go in our families, so will the traditions. Sometimes moms can hold on too tightly—not just to those traditions, but also to our pride. We must be careful not to allow change and pride to interfere with the joy of Christmas.
The joy of celebrating our Savior’s birth.
Jesus! It’s about Jesus.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Behold! Let go of the past, and rejoice in the new. A new life in Christ.