Tradition, Tradition

This week on Jolly Daze
we are sharing our Christmas traditions.

JollyDaze 4 u & me meme

We have quite a few traditions, but the that usually starts the season is finding a tree. We live in the woods, so we cut our own. But there's a problem with trees growing closely together. They are not usually symmetrically shaped. Often, the tops of the tall ones are better shaped than the smaller ones. So... we walk through the woods looking up at the tops. A nimble boy climbs up and saws off the top 8' of a tree and sends it tumbling to those watching.

Because we have only heat by wood, we find a spot for the tree far from the stove. We cover it with lots of home-made decorations and other ones that reflect each person's character or interests - everything from Charlie Brown to an Alaskan dog sled. We also string popcorn, intermingled with wrapped candy, which is eaten throughout the holiday season. The finishing touch is a beautiful angel at the top.

The whole month of December is filled with parties and programs, shopping and caroling, but Christmas Eve is my favorite day. It begins with waking early and heading to the "big city" of Bangor to do any last minute shopping. First we have breakfast at Dysarts, a truck stop with delicious food. When our money and energy runs out, we head home to finishing wrapping presents, cooking pies, and cleaning the house for any Christmas guests.

All preparations stop by 6 o'clock.
It is time for our Christmas Eve Candlelight service.
Whatever isn't done won't get done.
It's time for Christmas.

The church is decorated with greenery, red velvet ribbons, and lights in the windows. Everyone is dressed in their Christmasy clothes. Children scurry about in robes and halos. Each person is given a short little candle as they arrive. The sanctuary is dimly lit. The pianist is softly playing. Ushers light the candles of those sitting near the center aisle. The flame is passed from person to person. (battery operated ones for small children)

The service progresses with the men and boys taking their turn reading Scripture, followed by a carol. Poetry, children's plays, and special music are woven between. Time seems to stand still. Hearts are filled with holy wonder.

Too soon the music stops and the lights turned on. Gifts and cards are exchanged, and joyous laughter fills the room as people wish each other good tidings of joy. The rest of that evening and all of the next day is filled with family and food and gifts, but it is all an aftermath of the beautiful holy time.

I want to hold that hushed awe of God with us.

That's Christmas.


Diana Lesire Brandmeyer said...

I feel like I just had Christmas early. :) Wonderful word painting.

Valerie Comer said...

Your title took me straight back to Fiddler on the Roof. I shall now go around all day today singing the Tradition song!

We always cut our own tree, too, and decorate with mostly handmade decorations. I chose a different tradition to post about on my blog today, though!

Rita Garcia said...

Oh, Vonnie, thanks for sharing these vivid Christmas Traditions. I love candlelight services on Christmas Eve. Hugs!

Patty Wysong said...

=] Christmas all month this month. LOVE it! =]


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