The Best Christmas “Tradition”

My coworkers keep asking me what my Christmas traditions are. I don’t want to say that we don’t have any traditions because I guess that we do. We’ve celebrated Christmas with my dad’s side of the family as long as I’ve lived. My mom’s side of the family always has their celebration on a different day so they don’t have to compete with the other sides of the family. That’s the one constant that has never changed, but other “traditions” are affected by different circumstances in life.

The earliest tradition I can remember is coming home after our Christmas Eve service and opening one gift in my grandparents’ presence. But that tradition ended the year my grandma died. Three years after that, we left the church in which I was raised, changing the Christmas Eve service tradition as well. I know some people have managed to hold onto their traditions, but I wonder how the same things that entertained them when they were five can still capture their attention when they are twenty-five.

There’s only one “tradition” that will hold my heart for as long as it continues to last. I love the moment on Christmas Day when everyone is called into my grandma’s living room in order to open presents. It’s not the gifts that matter to me anymore, but the joyous anticipation that lights the eyes of my younger cousins when their gifts are set in front of them. It’s the way that all 30+ Snyders fill into one small area in representation of the tight-knit family we truly are. When I’m packed shoulder to shoulder like a sardine with the people who were born to be my best friends, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to be a Snyder. Though presents are nice, I don’t need anything but the smiling faces surrounding me and the baby on my lap. That’s what I find myself counting down for every Christmas.

Three more days. Only three more days…

Live the Journey

We interrupt the normal schedule of this blog to bring you an important message:

God has been doing something in me these past four months. I wrote a book, boldly presented it to a publisher, started a blog, and am slowly sinking into the world of ministry to my generation. It’s been amazing, and I’ve been learning so much. But tonight was one of those nights that God just smacked me in the face. You see, sometimes I get distracted from what I’m supposed to be doing and God has to set me back on track. I was skimming through my new book, A Heart Exposed by Steven James, when I stumbled upon these words:

you dance on the breeze in the evening light, you leap on the curl of a wave, crashing white. you twirl on a star in the darkest night, calling, “Live the journey! Live!”

With four more rousing stanzas, Steven James reminded me of my passion and purpose. It’s the reason I started this blog. God called me to live the journey, and when I looked around at the world I live in, I saw that many of my friends and loved ones weren’t walking in the freedom God called His children to when he told us that He had come to give us life to the full (John 10:10). It was my calling to echo the cry my God shouts, whispers, and screams. “Live the journey. Live.” I regret to say that I haven’t truly been challenging anyone to truly live the journey. I allowed myself to be boxed in by structure and say, “This is the routine.” But I never really gave God much freedom to step outside the bounds of my pre-conceived categories. Not that this has been bad… I simply believe that it could be so much better. God wants to make it so much better.

I’m one of those people who strive on structure, yet I hate when routine gets in the way of the Spirit. But there I was, doing the very thing I hate. I convinced myself that it had to stay the way it was because I had to stick to the singleness theme. But honestly, this isn’t about singleness. It’s not about marriage. It isn’t about dating or courting or whatever else you may use to define relationships. It’s about moving beyond waiting for the things that won’t come until the future and refusing to get caught up in the past. It’s about living the journey. It always has been. Until I let myself get caught up in traditions and routine and whatnot.

But I’m going to warn you that tradition stops right here. I’ll still try to post three times a week, but it’s going to have a little less “Rebekah-shaped structure.” I’m not going to force anything I’m not feeling. I will only post what I feel the Spirit is sharing with me to share with you. I’m going to expose a little bit of my heart on this page. The only goal I now have is to live the journey. And I want to encourage you to live with me.