Leave a Heritage

We put up our Christmas tree last night. Our tree branches are now heavy with ornaments, but our tree is not a designer tree. No one is going to put it in an interior design magazine. There's no color scheme, pretty ribbons or even distribution of ornamants across all the branches.

No, our tree is heavily decorated from about the four-foot mark down. The ornaments are a broad assortment of handmade, Hallmark and drug store specials. Some are old, some are new and some are simply precious.

You see, we use our tree as a way to share a heritage with our kids. We have ornaments on our tree that used to belong to my great-grandmother, and we have ornaments on our tree that represent important milestones in the lives or our children. It doesn't make for the prettiest tree, but every year it serves as an opportunity for us to share with our children about important people and important milestones in our lives. It's one way we can pass on a heritage.

We are commanded by God to teach our children about Him -- to pass on a heritage of faith. Proverbs 13:22 says, "The heritage of the good man is handed down to his children's children." As we try to focus our family's attention on Jesus this Christmas, start with the ornaments on your tree. Use this everyday moment to share the heritage of your faith with your children.

  • If you don't have the mix of ornaments that we have, start this year creating those memories. Buy or make each child an ornament that represents a significant milestone in their life for this year. My girls got sports ornaments this year that contained pictures of them playing their respective sports. When I gave them to them, I asked them to tell me what they had learned while playing sports this year. Both were able to tell me that you have to persevere even when it's hard. This is a concept that we have worked hard on instilling in the girls this year. When they see those ornaments in the future, they'll have a physical reminder of perseverance.
  • Don't rush through the tree decorating. Share the stories of the people and the places your ornaments represent. We have ornaments on our tree from four generations of my family. Some of the original owners of the ornaments, my kids never met, but they know about them because we share the stories with them each Christmas. Those ancestors left a legacy of faithfulness and love in marriage that set the example for how I wanted my marriage to be. Those ornaments give me the opportunity to verbally pass on that legacy to my kids.
  • Make sure some of the ornaments on your tree tell the story of Jesus. We have several nativity-oriented ornaments that allow us to talk about Jesus' birth as we hang them.

Enjoy decorating your tree this year and use it as an opportunity to be intentional in passing on a heritage to your children.