Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Hello my friends. I looked out the window just before I sat down to write and before my eyes was the biggest harvest moon! Beautiful... There is a beauty to the late autumn/winter landscape which reminds me of God's pure artwork after the glorious color of the leaves and grasses. The moon had transformed the trees into dark sculptures against the deep blue of the sky.

Join me for a hot cup of Harney & Son's Holiday Tea and a piece of my favorite cranberry bread. Forgive the messy house right now. I have boxes of Christmas "stuff" everywhere, waiting to be placed in their appropriate homes for the next six weeks or so... I love opening the Rubbermaid container that holds my "soft" snowman collection. They meet me with a smile of delight, ready for their invitation to the party. Another box, marked "very fragile" holds the rest of my snowmen and some of my vintage decorations... some inherited and some purchased.

I thought I'd chat more about the idea of Tradition again this week. I have been pondering the traditions of my own family. Some of our traditions through the years came to us quite by accident, much like when we begin a collection. We are given or purchase an item, then see another one that would look so nice with it, and then a third, and a fourth... and before you know it you have a significant collection of teacups, books, dishes, roosters, ducks, teddy bears, snowmen, candles, dolls, etc.

Speaking of collections, Christopher has collected penguins since he was around eight years old and loved the book Mr. Popper's Penguins. He has a rather large collection now (most of them packed nicely away for when he has a family). He just came home with the cutest little penguin that you pull a string and it "shimmys", a present from Sheila (of the loaned me her car and meets with me for lunch former neighbor fame here on the blog).

So... many of our family traditions began just as our collections did with something we did once or twice and then it became "what we always do". For instance, when it was just the three of us (before Christopher was born), we always went out to breakfast on Saturday. This went on for easily over a decade. It came about in that time I was combining career and family and Saturday was the day we ran errands together. "Breakfast out" was a delightful way to start that day.

Other traditions were started because a person... in this case a Mom... put pen to paper after much pondering... and thought of traditions to begin. These usually had a purpose such as bringing the family closer together, making the Lord the center of our celebrations, bringing literature into the forefront of our celebrations, creating beauty, or just having fun. For I am a Christian Mom who not only loves Silent Night but has been known to make cookies to the tunes of Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (Brenda Lee) and Jingle Bell Hop! There is a time for pondering and contemplation during Advent, there is a time for joy and celebration and... dancing while making cookies. :)

I found a very long time ago that Christmas doesn't just happen... at least in this house. Decorations are sought out all year (and especially at the after Christmas sales), perfect stocking stuffers are searched for throughout the year much as one would search for silver and gold, ears are open for gift ideas, recipe books and magazines are read with the consideration of the ooohs and aaahs one would receive when the food is served, craft supplies are brought out, Christmas music is collected as are books relating to the season, and at least one person does what she can with the given time... energy... and budget... to create... MAGIC... Narnia magic.

For we have, in the month of December, the opportunity to bring sparkle into the lives of our family and friends. For just a few weeks, Heaven comes to this bit of sod, just as He came 2,000 years before. Into the darkness came Life, into our darkness comes... Christmas.

As a mom, I believed it was vital to our family that we had Tradition in our celebrations. Especially as we moved a great deal to follow my husband's career. We often found ourselves in new towns, new churches, new situations... on the outside looking in. Tradition gave us roots, those that could run deep into our souls if not into a specific zip code. Those that could go with us into a new town and new situation... we do this because we are a family.

This week I will be opening boxes and taking a trip to the Past. Some traditions will continue, new traditions are already in progress as the season of my life changes. I hope some will be passed to the next generation. We do this because we always did it this way... to bring beauty... to bring joy... to bring a laugh... to bring delight... for light in the midst of darkness... Christ-mas.


Heather L. said...

Thanks for your encouragement to invest energy in making a special time for the family. I love your term "Narnia magic." :)

I have a Starbucks story for you. My sister came home from Starbucks yesterday -- she had begun at 4:30 a.m. on the drive through (Black Friday). She said it was crazy, but something a customer did brightened her day. A lady came to the drive through and said she wanted to pay for the people behind her. She didn't know them, but she just wanted to do this in memory of her daughter who had died. My sister thought that was so sweet and so when the next car pulled up she told them what happened and that their order was paid for. They thought it was a wonderful thing and decided they would pay for the car behind them! Emily said SIX cars in total ended up doing that. I think it made Emily's morning, and it certainly brightened my day. And that first lady has no idea how her little kindness travelled on!

DebD said...

Such an encouragement. I have tried to incorporate the tradition of observing Advent. I never did this as a child and hubby and I didn't start this until about 12 or so years of marriage. We started doing this when we were in a church that didn't observe advent and it has become easier being in a church that does. But still, its not as consistent as I would like. We work on it a little more every year.

Anonymous said...

Brenda, could you post a list like you did last year on the things you especially like about Christmas? I remember your list really blessing me, and I went on to make my own.
Heather-what a wonderful story! I love it!
I think it was Flylady who recently sent out an email about the movie, "Pay it Forward" and now I want to rent it for my family. Your post reminded me of what I think the movie is about. Thanks for sharing your Starbucks story with the rest of us. :)