In my Italian-American family, we traditionally have always celebrated the birth of the Christ Child on Christmas Eve and ended the evening by attending Midnight Mass.
Since Bill and I have been together, we have two family Christmas celebrations as we don’t have space for our blended family and my sister’s rather large brood.
Our separate sibling celebration included my one daughter who lives in town,son-in-law, my three grandsons, my sister and her three daughters, spouses and her seven grandchildren. In the past, I have gifted each of my grand nieces and nephews.
My daughter suggested we do something different this year and I agreed since it is getting difficult to buy for so many. And even though we start with worship, watching children who already are so materially blessed tear into opening presents, has lost some of its luster for me.
Then that cliché “light bulb” went off in my head: “Why not start a new family tradition??”
So on December 16th, we are doing a family volunteer day from 11:00 to 1:00 at Matthew 25 Ministries with five adults and eight children, ranging in age from 6 to 16. For two of the adults and five of the children, it will be their first time.
I believe it will be a true Christmas gift to them to see the ministry of Matthew 25 and the visuals of children living in such extreme poverty. Hopefully, they will come away feeling that they have definitely spread some true Christmas Spirit around this planet.
So this year, I am really looking forward to this extended family gathering. I’ll let you know how it goes!