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Capital Campaign: Building Beyond Walls

Soteria Staff Shares

How your pastors like to celebrate the Christmas season each year

I begin the Christmas season early! Two-thirds through October, I introduce a small amount of Christmas music into our family routines. By the beginning of December, we are in full swing. Our family dinner table is outfitted with Christmas decorations, and we often light candles and listen to Christmas music as we eat. We’ll read Christmas-related Scriptures, or use an Advent story book. Throughout the month, we’ll watch Christmas movies as a family. Christmas Day begins with a special song that signals the kids to get out of bed. My kids are the third generation of Augsburgers who have started Christmas Day with this song. What follows are Christmas stockings, breakfast, Luke 2, Christmas gifts, and a big Christmas dinner. It’s a wonderful time together!


Every year after our Christmas Eve service, we head out of town to celebrate Christmas with extended families. So, our personal family Christmas falls a few days before, and we work to make the season memorable.

We kick off the season with our tree-trimming party. We put on Christmas music, put together a tasty charcuterie board, and make an evening of it. Throughout the season, we use our church’s Advent themes, and squeeze in Elf, the TV version of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and the old classic, Snowball Express. On Christmas morning, we open gifts, read the Christmas story, and then have a big brunch.

However, one of the most heartwarming traditions growing yearly is my kids’ desire to buy gifts for their siblings. Hearing them talk about each other and what to give them is evidence of God’s work in their lives and one of my favorite gifts of all.


Some family traditions come from thoughtful planning, but the origin of most is either a happy accident or a mystery. Years ago, we had panang curry after our Christmas Eve service, perhaps because it was the only restaurant open. But now, we look forward to “Christmas Eve Curry” with the Grinch. The original. With Boris Karloff. Throughout the Advent season, we often enjoy one of Arnold Ytreeide’s Advent adventures, lots of good cheeses, and Starbucks mochas and Christmas lights on Ashby Avenue. On Christmas morning, we enjoy reading Luke 2 and eating a big breakfast with friends from church.


In many ways, I feel like we are still trying to cement our Christmas traditions, but each year, we enjoy coming home from the Christmas Eve service, eating from a charcuterie board, and giving our three girls their Christmas jammies. If I can twist my wife’s arm, we will stay up and watch It’s a Wonderful Life and I will bawl like a baby. 🙂

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