The Red Boxes

December 9, 2013
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Listen while you read: "The Birthday Of A King"1 (Lyrics)

1 Corinthians 11:2 – I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. (NIV)

Tradition has a way of finding a place in many of the seasonal events in which we participate. In our family though, Christmas seems to have quite a few — from the trimming of the tree, to the Christmas dishes I set the table with, and the candle that is lit in remembrance of family who have gone home to be with Jesus.

The red boxes, though, have always been one of anticipation and challenge at times. These boxes are carefully put away each year, but are brought out and used for only one evening: Christmas Eve. Preparation for these boxes begins in late October or early November. At that time, I begin to search and source out the contents for these boxes. I have been doing this tradition since the first Christmas we had children, and my parents did it for us growing up. I am certain that some readers will also have a tradition similar to this: the tradition of new pyjamas. This year, though, it's now the beginning of December and the boxes remain empty. I have yet to purchase the pyjamas; I have even contemplated not following tradition — after all, the boys are now men!

Why do we do it, and just what is tradition? The Bible speaks of tradition in a few places, and in fact, the word comes in the form of a warning to us.

Matthew 15:1-3 – Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!" Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition." (NIV)

We need to be careful that we don't get caught up in tradition and forget that Jesus is the reason for the season. So while we go about shopping and decorating, let's step out in faith and share with someone the birth of Christ and either start a new tradition or build on an existing tradition of showing the light of Jesus into a dark world this season.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You that You came as flesh and were born as a baby so that we may have eternal life with You. We thank You for traditions, and it's our prayer that You will be front and foremost in all of them. We come to You in anticipation of the boldness that You will give us this Christmas season. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Julie Bowles <>
Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks Julie for a good challenge.

    May it be the season for His reason to bless us, and may we realise it in Jesus, amen.

    Dear Julie,
    Thanks for your devotional.
    You got me right into trying to solve your red-box concern.
    I wondering what you can replace the red boxes with.
    It is so down-to-earth and Biblically relevant in its intent.
    Keep writing, Julie.

    Hi Julie
    I would suppose it matters just what those traditions are? If the tradition tells the story of the coming of our Saviour Jesus and we can use it as a teaching tool, then OK! Just this past Sunday the tradition of the story of Jesus coming to this earth was displayed. I must say the Sunday School’s Pageant was well done and we had a packed house. For me, it gave the children a deeper meaning of His coming and for we in the church it was advent enforced! God Bless.

    Good morning Julie, Fill the red boxes. Your boys may be men but opening the red boxes is a sign of tradition yes but also continuing family love.
    In a changing world providing some “sameness” or tradition is comforting and welcome. God wants us to share our “constant”, comforting love with our family and beyond always and forever. Perhaps you would like to add to this loving tradition and the same season have family members donate new or gently used PJ’s to a local charity. It is a wonderful tradition, I believe He would want you to keep it. Bless you and yours.

    Julie—buy the pj’s!!

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