Friday, December 9, 2011
Counting Down the Days . . .
2 Thessalonians 2:15
So, then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
Christmas is a season jam-packed with tradition!
And, we who celebrate Jesus' birth more than likely share many of these is common.
Decorating the Christmas tree. Arranging the Nativity scene. Hanging stockings. Placing a wreath on our front door. Opening presents. Attending church.
But, as every family is unique, even these traditions can vary greatly.
Real tree, or artificial? Do we set the entire Nativity scene up at once, or do we hold back the baby Jesus until Christmas Day and the Wise Men until Epiphany? Embroidered stockings, or white-trimmed, red felt? A wreath adorned with lights and ornaments, or just a large, satin bow? Opening gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Attending the Christmas Eve service, or going to church on Christmas morning?
No matter how we observe this special season, keeping our traditions enhances our experience in the here and now, and can be passed down to the generations who follow us.
I like that thought . . .
My favorite tradition was, and still is, the advent calendar.
Every year while I am growing up, my grandmother sends us the most enchanting and magical calendars, bound to stir and excite the imagination of any child.
My brother and I are no exception.
We take turns opening a door or window each day. We hold the calendar to the light so the star or the trumpet or the teddy-bear or candy canes shine more brightly.
And, how we do get excited about Christmas!
I carry this treasured tradition on with my own children. Instead of a paper Advent calendar, however, I invest in one which I hope will be permanent.
It lasts about twenty years . . .
The doors are raggedy and some hang only by threads. I still love it, though, and don't want to part with it.
But, when a piece finally goes missing, I give up.
And, order a new Advent calendar (pictured above).
This time, made of thick, durable cloth and generous pockets to house the Nativity figures until it is their turn to appear in Bethlehem.
And, perfect to hand down to my granddaughter, Virginia Rose, when she is old enough.
To carry on the family tradition.
Counting the days until the coming of the Lord . . .
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
Will you pray with me?
Father, we thank you for family and for the traditions each generation passes to the next. As we practice old customs which bring us comfort and joy, help us, too, to be open to creating new an meaningful ways to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Amen.
Psalms 31 or 35
2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5
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