By Jennifer Gallus
HOWARD LAKE, MN - Christmas traditions for Steve Basney, pastor at Open Arms Community Church (originally printed incorrectly as Blessed Hope of Howard Lake in the newspaper), includes a spicy, light meal of taco soup on Christmas Eve.
“After dinner, we drive around town to look at the lights,” Basney said.
Basney’s family includes his wife, LuAnne, and two daughters Alison,12, and Natali, 10. LuAnne’s family is Scandinavian, so lefse is part of the family’s tradition, as well as cookies, fudge, and Russian tea cakes.
“We try to keep Christmas focused on Jesus. We read The Christmas Story from the Gospel, then sing Christmas carols, and spend time together praying,” Basney explained.
After the family’s reflection of the holiday, the gifts are opened.
Christmas Day includes opening the stockings, a big meal of ham or turkey, and the rest of the day is spent playing board games with the children.
The family lived in Australia for two years while working as missionaries, and observed that Christmas is a lot less commercial there.
“It’s a lot simpler, and people don’t go overboard with gifts,” Basney said.
Basney is originally from Michigan, and moved to the area in 1988. He became a pastor because, he said, “God places his desires in your heart, and it’s part of your calling in life.”
Open Arms Community Church is a non-denominational church that meets above the Howard Lake Library in the community room.