Christmas at the SDWC
In light of the family of Senator Johnson spending his 60th birthday and Christmas in the hospital as they pray for his recovery, a theme of Christmas tradition and family seems much more timely. We all have our Christmas traditions, but they exist in our minds less as set procedure and more as good memories.
In other words, the things that get engraved in our minds as family traditions are that which reinforce the feelings of togetherness and fellowship. The good stays and the bad goes away.
The things my wife and I have kept from each other's Christmas traditions and turned into our own involve the memories of family and fellowship they invoke.
The advent calendar will be raided out of turn for the chocolate santas it contains. A few select CD's are in the stereo (Amy Grant's first Christmas album, Mannheim Steamroller, and some more traditional selections). My wife will demand lights on the house, and we'll determine whether or not we can dare put the vintage glass ornaments up. Small kids at the moment, you know.
There are frosted sugar cookies and chocolate dipped pretzels on the table, and tonight my wife will make her family's homemade onion soup. I'm debating whether or not to also make my mom's beer-cheese soup. Although, for sure for Christmas dinner tomorow I'm making mom's chicken supreme (courtesy of Julia Child's art of french cooking).
We'll go to the early Christmas mass at the church tonight. When my wife was a child, her family would go to the Midnight mass at the Cathedral in Sioux Falls. When I was a kid, we tried that once. With six kids in various states of semi-conciousness, my parents gave up on that rather quickly. My family's tradition of the early mass has won out for now.
And as far as gift giving, we both had the same family traditions of family gifts on Christmas eve, and letting the kids have at it for Santa's booty the next morning. And there will be a small assortment of things in odd stockings for the kids. Not the festive red and white fake fur or other purchased holiday themed festive stockings, but an odd assortment of tube socks.
I think that comes from my side of the family. After the 4th kid, ever the epitome of practicality, my mom switched over to "whatever" for the actual stockings that were stuffed. If it worked at the moment, she went with it. (Taken to an extreme, at my house while growing up, over the course of my mom's six kids, Easter baskets morphed from purchased woven or wicker baskets in the early days into a revereware saucepan with plastic grass in it).
To my family, Christmas is this amalgamation of special memories of family. Good memories of Christmases past and yet to come. The things that make us laugh and feel loved. The troubled moments in our lives will eventually pass, and they will fade. That which we feel and make important - those things that bring us comfort - are what we will remember as time marches on.
May you all make your own good memories of Christmas this year.
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks 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 so afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and 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'"
That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
- Linus, from a Charlie Brown Christmas
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
May your heart be light
In a year our troubles will be out of sight
From now on
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yuletide gay
In a year our
troubles will be miles away
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Precious friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more
I know that In a year we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Until then, we'll just have to muddle through somehow
And have ourselves a merry little Christmas now.
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meet me in St. Louis