Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas I put out a new 1000-piece puzzle on the dining room table, right in everyone’s way. It’s become a favorite tradition over the years and serves to bring family members together for a few minutes a day during the busiest time of the year.
The rules of engagement are simple. If someone is at the table working on the puzzle and another family member passes by, he must stop and fit at least two pieces. Then he can resume whatever he was doing. It rarely ends with just two pieces being added to the puzzle, especially in the evening. I love this tradition because we end up chatting and laughing over tiny bits of cardboard of various colors while we work toward a common goal. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I’d say a piece of the picture invites ten thousand words. And second, the puzzle must be completed before we leave town as we always do, right after Christmas. I remember a particular year when it was “all hands on deck” the night before our departure, and we worked feverishly to finish the last hundred pieces. Life is like that, isn’t it? We race to get through a season so we can move on to the next event!
During “puzzle season” we reflect on the last 11 months and how the events throughout the year fit together to bring us to this point in life. I bring to mind the truth of Romans 8:28, “For we know in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” In all things. In the big things, and in the little things. In the easy things, and in the difficult things. In a thousand things we encountered in the past year, He is working for our good.
Our puzzle tradition is a sweet reminder that we may not see how everything fits together by looking only at one one-thousandth of the big picture. However, when it is finished, we see the necessity of every single piece, fitting perfectly. My family knows this tradition well. In some years, we’ve had much to celebrate. In other years, we remind each other that He is still working, even when the fragments don’t seem to fit.
Do you have special traditions that bring your family together for fun and reflection? Consider how you can enjoy family time while pointing your children to God’s Word this season. Need some ideas to get started? Check out the holiday traditions at this link below. Each one offers a thought-provoking question and a scripture to share with your kids.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
About Kim Heinecke
Kim Heinecke wants to live in a world where children listen to the advice of their mothers without question. As a former single mom she’s been encouraging women using her life experiences in parenting, growing in the Word of God and everything in between. When she’s not negotiating with a teenager or wrestling a pre-schooler, you can find her camping in the family RV or pretending to understand sports with her husband and four sons. Read more from Kim at www.TheMomExperiment.com.