Why My Christmas Can Be Incomplete

For the audio lover, click the player below to listen to today’s post read to you by me.


We have so many Christmas traditions in our home. Many are small, but size doesn’t matter.

My children are quick to remind me if we are in danger of not checking off our imaginary list. They don’t need to remind me though.

Each tradition we completed this season, I released an internal sigh of relief, knowing that one more thing was complete.

  • gingerbread house – check
  • Seeking Christmas – check
  • Christmas lights – check
  • live nativity – check
  • every Christmas movie ever made – check
  • homemade cookies – check
  • served others – check

I can go on.

I have the same dreams every Christmas. The ones where the family is gathered by the tree ready to open gifts, and I realized I’d forgotten to buy gifts, or I’d bought them but not yet wrapped them. In my dreams, I go racing to all my hiding spots, pulling out tucked away gifts, frantically wrapping.

Once I have the gifts somewhat wrapped and arrive to the patiently waiting family, I realized I forgot to make our Christmas morning breakfast tradition (Pioneer Woman’s Blueberry French Toast Casserole).

In my dreams I failed to bring our traditions to completion.

But you know what? The message of Christmas is the antithesis to traditions. And in the first Christmas, there was no completion. It was the beginning of the fulfillment of the great rescue mission. Completion would come approximately 33 years later when the baby King grown into a man, fully God and fully man, would find Himself murdered on a cross.

On the cross He was completion. On the cross it was finished.

The manger to the cross to the empty tomb, that is completion.

It is a kind thing to do to release myself from the burden of fulfilling all our traditions.

The kinds of traditions we keep aren’t bad ones. They don’t turn us away from Jesus. But if we think about traditions in terms of religion, we see the ones who killed the Messiah. We see traditions being the thing that made it impossible for some to see the Messiah for who He was and is.

Christmas birthed the trump to traditions. Christmas birthed hope, peace, love, joy, and mercy unlike anything the world had ever known.

I’m reminding myself this season that Christ was born to set the captives free. To release the prisoners from the bondage of sin, religion, and yes, tradition.

We will continue our family traditions with joy and freedom. We will wonder, watch, and wait. We will laugh and play and marvel at the miracles. We will make memories.

We will continue marking off our traditions with freedom and gladness because we can, not because we are bound by them. And when we fail to “complete” everything by Christmas, we will remember that Christmas was never the picture of completion.

I pray you have a very Merry Christmas. Love to each of you from our family.