25 Days of Christ | A Christ-Centered Christmas Tradition
Today we're sharing a favorite Christmas Tradition of Faith: The 25 Days of Christ. A big thank you to Katherine Oliver for sharing her story of how she started this tradition in her family (and eventually ended up sharing it with others!). We're so happy to share this tradition with you!
Our family loves everything about Christmas! However, as a young mom it seemed that the Christmas gift list making seemed to start earlier and earlier each year. Like most parents of faith, I often dealt with the internal struggle of how to put more of our family’s focus on the true purpose of Christmas Day. We participated in Secret Santa gift giving, baking treats for neighbors and reading Luke 2 on Christmas Eve, but it still didn’t seem like enough. I knew we needed to add something different to our list of traditions, something meaningful.
It was during one of those internal monologues 8 years ago that a new idea for a December tradition started to take shape. I realized celebrating the mortal birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas morning has more meaning if His life and mission are better known and understood. From my experience as a mom of young boys and a background in teaching, I knew that scripture stories could be understood by very young children. This kind of daily studying could also be meaningful to older children, youth, parents and grandparents as there is always a new level of understanding and faith that comes through continuous study of the scriptures.
However, the challenge that first Christmas was finding a way to present the idea of a nightly devotional to my kids. I knew for my young boys it would need to be visual, tangible, and exciting. In a moment of inspiration the idea came to make 25 simple ornaments that represented our favorite scriptural accounts of the Savior’s life from His birth, through His death, and then His resurrection. I scoured all the craft shops in the surrounding community looking for items that my young boys could recognize and relate to these stories from the life of Christ.
And thus, our tradition of The 25 Days of Christ began. Every night we gathered together, hung a new ornament and read from the scriptures about life of our Savior. I considered it a success that first year as I noticed a change in focus and conversation. That spirit has continued through the years. Now, our three boys are all in school—ages ranging from 7-13. We use the same ornaments. We discuss the same stories and teachings. Now when they reveal the ornament for the day, they know what the story is. They can tell it in their own words. We discuss why it is important, what we can learn from it, and how we can apply what Christ teaches us in our own lives. Each time we add a little extra layer of insight building on their growing gospel knowledge and maturity.
Friends, neighbors, and relatives that we shared this new tradition with were eager to give it a try in their own families. I provided them with a materials list and the set of daily scriptural references that match each ornament. They also struggled to find the right materials and had to make do with what was available. The response I received was overwhelmingly positive. I started feeling that this tradition was something to be shared outside my circle of friends.
The daily devotional materials are provided for free on 25daysofchrist.com for all to use. We have also created ornament kits for families to purchase to help begin this same tradition with their families. Since we started 5 years ago we have sent out nearly 20,000 ornament kits to families from all over the US, Canada and many other countries. What a humbling experience it has been to literally share goodness with the world in our own small and simple way!
Whether or not you choose to purchase a kit, make your own, or decide to simply follow the devotional, I invite you to try something similar in your own home. I know that taking the time to focus on the life and mission of Jesus Christ will be a meaningful tradition for yourself and your family and will bring the true spirit of the season into your home.