What are some of your favorite Christmas memories and what are your family traditions? As a child, I loved going caroling on Christmas Eve and all the carolers would be carrying lanterns and we would all end up in Church for the midnight service. For Christmas, we always got new clothes and shoes and we could hardly wait for Christmas day so that we could wear our new clothes, go to church and then go back home for the biggest party ever. My parents always had an open house on Christmas day and we were never sure who would turn up. We always had over 50 people at my parent’s house on Christmas Day and we had fun playing, playing, playing and eating, eating, eating. When most people always remember a favorite dessert they always had during Christmas, my family remembers that antacids were always the fi rst item on the shopping list when preparing for our big feast!
Traditions that my husband, son and I have include getting and decorating our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, playing Christmas music thoughout the month of December, going to see Christmas lights the weekend before Christmas, watching Charlie Brown ‘s Christmas Story and making a special appetizer pastry that takes four to five hours to make! Actually, I have done this 3 years out of the last six and wiggled out of it the rest of the time because it is so labor intensive. However, I have decided to make this a yearly tradition. My husband helped me make the pastries last night and they are in the freezer ready to be deep fried on Christmas Day. It was a wonderful time of fellowship listening to Christmas music, watching my son look at the Christmas Tree lights and folding those pastries with my husband. He is the most playful, funny and kind hearted man I know! We also stay up late and open one present each on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, we have a good breakfast before loading up and going to spend Christmas with either my family or my husband’s family. Now that my son is older, we will be reading one of the Gospel accounts of the Christmas story.
I have been trying to get a protestant church that does a midnight service on Christmas Eve, but so far I have not been so successful. The first protestant church we found about 5 years ago, had an open invitation for communion and they clearly stated on their invitation that Holy communion was open to all irrespective of your religion. They said it did not matter if you were Muslim, Jewish or Hindu to please join in taking communion. Okay, so even if you do not believe in the deity of Christ or that He is the messiah, you are to partake in communion in remembrance of Him who you do not believe in? So what is the meaning of communion again? No return visit. Last year, we went to a catholic church and it was standing room only. We may have theological differences, but the service was beautiful and there was such a sense of reverence. I think the protestant church tried so hard to emphasis grace and do away with legalism that the end by-product is services that most times seem so flippant and irreverent. Some sweet old lady fell in love with my son and gave him a statue of Jesus and a Rosary at the end of the service! So we soldier on looking for a protestant church with a midnight service. This year we are going for a candlelight service at 6:00 p.m. Next year, we will return to the catholic church if no protestant church takes up the challenge. I am determined to share this tradition with my son.
I so desperately wish that my adoptive child or children were here this Christmas as we make new memories. But all in God’s timing. It is tough wondering if my child/ren know that they are loved, wondering if they have warm clothes to wear, or if they will have enough food. I really don't think this year I will be gorging myself as the children God will place in our home and hearts have been so much on my mind lately.