holiday traditions
wednesday, november 21, 2007

every year i think i put up an entry on our holiday traditions, and every year i can't find it
. if i did put something up on what we do for thanksgiving, i must have titled it something odd. so this year, whether i already have an entry up on it or not, i am putting up an entry on our holiday traditions that is easy to find. thus the title of this entry. honestly, no surprise. over 7 years of journaling (old fashioned journaling too--not blogging, which i have nothing against, but you certainly aren't going to find categories here), adhd, and anemia. might as well ask me to find a needle in a haystack...a double sized haystack. now i should be able to find it every year i need it without a problem...maybe. the way my brain works, there's no telling if i will or not.

anyway, we don't get crazy about too many holidays, to be honest. there's more that we're not particularly interested in celebrating than there are--halloween and new year's are just two of the biggest. independence day is one of those toss up holidays: we like the fireworks and sentiment, hate the drinking and the shooting. thanksgiving has always been a hit or miss holiday, with the meal determined by what money we have or by what others have given us. but christmas? christmas we love to celebrate. we wish we could do it up more than we do, to be honest, but we've always been something of a financial wreck. so, every year i tell the kids there probably won't be any presents under the tree. one of this years i won't be made into a liar.

beyond that, we decided to start celebrating our christmas a little early, and to wrap our thanksgiving traditions into it. i don't talk much about my faith because i am such a poor example of it, but we are a christian family. i was born again at the age of 16 (much to my mother's disgust), went to church regularly for a very long time (until the church i went to decided that i was being manipulative instead of being abused and needing my ex-husband to break away from his mother). i don't blame god for the turn of events, his church is led and filled with fallible people, i just ended up not being in a position to find a new church where i was comfortable, and had no desire to continue to go to a church that thought so poorly of me. my kids went with their dad, and i walked with him as best i could. but the traditions we keep are our thanksgiving traditions, the traditions that bring us back to our faith every year.

after dinner tomorrow, we'll put up our tree. we used to buy a tree every year, but tree prices have gotten out of hand so now we have a fake one. i'd love to go back to the real tree again. maybe one day. evergreen is one of the symbols of eternal life, because they keep their needles year round. we put up our tree on thanksgiving, the day we are to give thinks, because we are thankful for christ and the sacrifice he made for us, for him rising again, and for the everlasting life we find in him.

more than that, our tree is decorated with ornaments that are either symbolic or related to him and his birth and his sacrifice or with ornaments that are associated with the family. some are ornaments made by our children, but most are a representation of each member of the family: taz is penguins, froggy has kittens, jewel has carousels, phoenixcat has teddy bears, saxy is wolves (and one pluto with mickey because he loves pluto), and i'm unicorns. we also have an assortment of baby's first christmas ornaments, and will now be adding baby cat's theme: giraffes. kitten and jewel will probably be taking their ornaments this year for their trees in their homes, so next year we will more than likely have a tree a little more bare than we're used to. (i'm keeping the baby's firsts though!) we've tried each year to add a new ornament for each person, but that hasn't gone so well, actually. limited funds, and sometimes limited selection of ornaments. i've made some for everyone, but haven't had a lot of time to make things of late--the subbing and the writing have kept me very busy. maybe i can find time for all that again because we're way behind.

the remainder of our ornaments are all tied into the reason for the season: angels (who sang on high when he was born), stars of david, musical instruments, doves, and others. we put up red and white candy canes which are symbolic of his blood, his purity, of him as a great shepherd by its shape, and his death by the mint of its scent. the lights are white to represent his pure holiness, and they do not blink because his holiness is constant. our tree topper is a star, perhaps not as big and as bright as the star that shone the night he was born, but it's the best we mere mortals can do, and it's as white and as unblinking as the rest of the lights. everything either ties to us or to him. we even have these bright fish we got from one of the children's teething rings years ago to represent his promise that we will be fishers of men. just like for the ornaments that represent us, there's a lot on the tree that's been hand made--the stars of david, cross-stitched noel's and trumpets of peace, and so on. and everything is put on the tree with red and white ribbons, red to represent his blood, white to represent his purity and holiness.

every year we put our ornaments up and talk about what they mean with the children. and every now and then, they surprise us with the joy of knowing what they mean. this year may be the last year i have this family celebration with my oldest, but kitten has told us that she will be bringing the traditions to her family. we've even given her some angel ornaments to start her own family christ-mas tree. so now, even when we are apart, we will be brought together by the holiday rituals that have been a part of our family since the children were little. next year, when we put up the tree, and tell the two youngest again what everything means, my oldest and her family will be with us in spirit, doing the same.

and isn't that the point of holiday traditions? bringing us together as families even when we are so far apart?

may your traditions bring you and your family the blessings and the joy that ours have brought us.

word of the moment: accension

the act of kindlingor setting on fire, or the state of being kindled; inflammation; ignition

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