CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAYS MY TRADITIONS HAVE CHANGED, BUT MY FAITH HAS REMAINED Growing up, Christmas was a small family affair for us. My dad got a job in New York City when I was just a toddler, so he, my mom, my siblings, and I packed up and moved to Pennsylvania before we finally landed in Connecticut. Most of the holiday celebrations I remember as a little kid involved a simple gathering with my parents and siblings. We’d wake up and furiously open our stockings before sitting down to a Christmas morning breakfast. Once we finished our feast, we were finally able to open our presents. We’d spend the day together as a family, just enjoying each other’s company. California while I was a kid, it was still quite the adjustment for me. We moved near the Los Angeles area, and I remember driving through one of the neighborhoods and staring up at all the palm trees. Despite being born in the Golden State, I was brought up on pine trees and changing leaves. California was all sunshine and palms; it was quite a different experience compared to what I was used to. At least, that’s how it appeared to a 13-year-old adjusting to a post-East Coast life. We moved back to California when I was 13 years old, and despite visiting
celebrating the holiday through our religion encourages our kids to show love and compassion to others. This is a message we try to teach our kids not only around the holidays — care for other humans should be a year-round mission. My family and I are active supporters of the Orange County Rescue Mission, and we often donate to it monetarily and materially. For those who don’t know, the local organization uses Christ’s love as a motivator to help “the least, the last, and the lost of our community.” The organization provides meals, clothing, and shelter to a variety of groups in need in our area. They have veterans, antitrafficking, legal, spiritual, medical, and life skills programs among their many offerings. Learn more about the Orange County Rescue Mission at RescueMission.org . Helping the Orange County Rescue Mission serve others in the community encourages my family to live actively through Christ and our beliefs, but whichever way you plan to celebrate this holiday season and give back, I hope you do so with compassion. Happy Holidays!
From then on, our holidays got a little bigger, as we were able to spend more time with family. No big traditions really grew out of this, but I did love living near family. It’s the main reason my wife — who has lived in California her whole life — and I decided to plant our roots in this coastal state, despite musings about possibly living somewhere else. We’ve built our own community here, and we have connections with family and our church that we wouldn’t want to lose. Now that we have three kids of our own, celebrating the holidays as parents is a fun experience. Each year, we look forward to seeing their delighted faces on Christmas morning. The wish lists have gone from Legos to expensive electronics, but there’s nothing quite as pure as a kid tearing into wrapping paper on Christmas morning. However, while presents, Santa Claus, and sugar plum fairies are pleasant perks of the holiday, in our household, we hold dear to the Christian-based reason for celebration. I’m passionate about my faith, and I want to raise my children to find their passion for faith, too. My wife and I also believe that
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