By Lucas Cortazio
Both my wife Evelyn and I are from Brazil, and growing up as Christians there we celebrated Christmas in a very unique way every year. We would gather at church to sing, pray, and celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus until midnight on Christmas Eve. We would cross into the 25th on our knees in prayer and thanksgiving. I always loved that, but my favorite part was still coming—we would finish the service and then gather as a family at around 1:00 a.m. to feast! At times there would be more than 40 people in our grandparents’ house. Uncles, aunts, and cousins all eating and celebrating together amidst the darkness of the night in an almost defiant way, saying,
“We have the Light!”
By Sarah Kroger
Celebrating the season of Advent has been one of my favorite faith traditions. If you’re unfamiliar with Advent, it’s observed during the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. This season symbolizes not only the anticipation of celebrating the birth of Christ, but also our waiting in the present day for the second coming of the King.
Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved decorating the house for Christmas. My favorite piece to set up was our nativity scene. Complete with real hay and blue twinkle lights, it was the star of our living room. As a way to teach us about Advent, my parents would hide the baby Jesus figurine until Christmas morning, when he would make his triumphant return to the scene.
It seems a bit silly to stash away a baby Jesus figurine to make a point—but it worked. Even as a small child I remember feeling like that nativity scene never felt quite right without Jesus at the center. The same could be said for our lives. Advent is more than just a season of waiting. It’s a time to take stock, to repent, to prepare the way, and to make Jesus the center of our lives again.
My husband and I still keep the same tradition alive today. One day our children will ask about the missing baby Jesus figurine and we’ll teach them that as long as He’s at the center, they have everything they will ever need.