What makes a Christmas tradition?
There might be a few nuggets that come to mind. Some are serious while others can be fun.
For instance, my sister-in-law Cindy always buys chocolate-covered cherries for her dad, and my father-in-law, Howard. No one else dares to get them for him. That’s her job! Tradition.
Another one is my mother-in-law makes about 74 pounds of her famous Christmas sugar cookies – and we usually consume 68 pounds of them on Christmas Eve. Tradition.
- And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
When my mother was alive, we had a custom of gathering in her cramped, tiny little home and exchanging stockings at Christmas time. This was fine until the family grew and grew. Somehow, we’d pack about 30 people into a box house that had a capacity of 12. I used to go outside to change my mind. But she loved Christmas and her big family.
- And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
After my father passed away, I ALWAYS got the phone call from my mom to put her tree up NOW!!! No matter what I was in the process of doing, I dropped everything to trek to her house to assemble her tree. It’s a good thing I was not a surgeon because I’d have to leave the patient with a few stitches left. The process took hours. Just like in the 1960’s, she loved to throw icicles on the tree — that’s right – she tossed icicles – everywhere but the tree it seemed. Some of them landed on the fake evergreen, while others floated to our clothes, in our hair and even into our meal. They were everywhere! But she thought she had the prettiest tree ever.
- And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
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A tradition I will miss this year is not getting a gift from Max, my dog who died last year. He was a lovable mutt who always somehow knew exactly what I wanted. However, the stray cat who showed up this summer might be primed to take his place and buy me something really cool.
- And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
My family has a tradition or two now ourselves. We always try to gather and watch Christmas Vacation. The more time we spend as a family, the truer the movie becomes. We also take an evening and watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas and for the first time ever, Angie and I watched A Christmas Story last year. We plan to watch it again. Last year, we forced our daughter-in-law to watch Christmas Vacation with us. She said it was “okay.” Since we dog-sat Bo this weekend, she now has to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. She doesn’t know that yet.
- And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
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We also go Christmas caroling a week or so before the big day. This can be heartwarming and hysterically funny at the same time. We have sung to closed doors and been yelled at and told to get off the lawn. We have seen wigs fall off and teeth fly, but most of the time the shut-ins are moved to tears and blessed.
- And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
One tradition I like the most is when we all gather as a family and read the Christmas story aloud. The grandchildren take turns reading the verses from Luke 2. A different person is selected each year to lead a brief devotion. Then we exchange gifts, and I have to act like I’m surprised, because I’ve already unwrapped and re-wrapped my presents (my joy of the season to myself).
- And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
As you have read this post, you have taken part in our little tradition of reading the Christmas story. Thank you and welcome to the family! In case you are wondering, I like Tim Horton’s and Toro Loco gift cards.
I pray that reading the second chapter of Luke becomes a part of your next Christmas.
Tell me about one of your favorite traditions.
And, Merry Christmas from Del & Angie!
(I’ll let you know what the cat gets me!)