Dear Parents,

One week to go and all conditions are go for our Christmas Program and then vacation. Soon it will be January 2018 and we all have to learn to write our checks in a different year. I am thrilled how well the year has gone and excited for our future. Please continue to pray with great fervor that God continues His blessings on us and allows us to grow in His grace.

Christmas time is magical for many of our youth but I want to remind you of our special Friday Free Dress Day this coming Dec. 15. In the recent earthquakes in Mexico a young family endured endless heartache. Both parents were killed in the disaster and the two young children were left without parents. I am sure that the thought of this hits right in your heart. We too feel this pain and because of this special need we are asking for a $5.00 donation from each students for this Friday. All proceeds will go to this family through the local pastor. This will not be much, but it is what we can do for this year. Please help as you can. Some families have already donated and we thank each of you.

Don’t forget to bring the students between 6:30 pm and 6:40 pm so we can get robes on and warm up for our BIG program at 7:00pm. Handel’s Christmas Messiah for Young Voice! At our Simi Valley Adventist Church sanctuary.
My Christmas thought for this year comes from reading about family traditions. I remember all of the things my family did during the holiday season. The Church events, family get togethers, ingathering (ask me later), and special family times shopping or just snacking on a quick dinner out at the Pasta House in St Louis.

“Most parents discover early on that daily rituals like bedtime stories and goodbye hugs make separations easier and provide security. Traditions like taking a picture on the first day of school and carving pumpkins together at Halloween help children integrate the changes of the year. Rituals like building a sukkah together and Christmas Eve Mass communicate religious meaning in a visceral way.

Studies show that happy families not only have treasured traditions, they constantly evolve new ones that help them find their way through the inevitable changes of growing up. But don’t worry if you aren’t consciously “creating” traditions. Your family is naturally developing them, from Sunday morning pancakes to bedtime blessings. The way you celebrate birthdays or mark anniversaries, the way you say goodbye to each other every morning or shop for fall clothes each school year; anything repeated is a tradition, the stuff of which memories are made. You don’t need anything fancy, just love. What creates a tradition is revisiting it year after year, updating as your child gets older.

All rituals reinforce values and create connection.

It’s a cliche that children grow up too fast, though it sure doesn’t seem like it on those long days when you just can’t wait to get them to bed. But when your kids look back, these are the memories that will define family for them. One way to insure that warm moments outweigh hard ones is to build traditions and rituals into your family life.”

You don’t need to do anything special, just spend time together and realize that when you repeat actions you are establishing your own unique traditions. God Bless each of you during our celebration of salvation come to earth.

Christmas is for everyone.

In Gratitude,

Stephen Stokes

Download the full PDF version: Echo, Vol 4, No 9, December 2017