Unexpected Traditions and the True Meaning of Christmas

Like Mary and Joseph, parents of kids with special needs know much about unexpected traditions and the true meaning of Christmas.

A year ago, my left hand was in a cast to recover from surgery to reconnect the thumb tendon I’d severed in a kitchen accident. A back injury had incapacitated my man-of-steel husband. As a result, we wisely decided to forego decorating the house for Christmas. “It’s only for one year,” we told each other. “We’ll do things up right next year.”

Those were, dear readers, our most Famous. Last. Words.

A month ago, we stumbled upon a house that satisfied every condition on our someday-we’d-like-to-downsize-and-live-in-a-house-with-the-following-features list, and we bought it. We’ll be moving sometime during the holidays, and our Christmas decorations are too big and too numerous for the new home. So we donated our tree and half our decorations to Good Will. And we decided not to decorate for the holidays for the second year in a row.

That, dear friends, is how unexpected holiday traditions begin at our house.

Parents of kids with special needs are all too familiar with holiday traditions of the unexpected kind. We know too much about canceling holiday plans because a medically fragile child spikes a fever, changing travel routes from Grandma’s house to the hospital for emergency Christmas surgery, or arriving late for family gatherings and leaving early to lessen the likelihood of meltdowns in kids who are sensory sensitive.

That, dear parents, is how unexpected holiday traditions begin families like ours.

Two thousand years ago, an unexpected tradition began one starry night when a young woman gave birth to the Son of God, assisted only by her husband.

To read the rest of this post, visit Key Ministry’s blog for parents of kids with special needs.

Like Mary and Joseph, parents of kids with special needs know much about unexpected traditions and the true meaning of Christmas.

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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.

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