Sunday, May 02, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Tea - For the love of rituals and traditions

"...For although we do the same things anybody else does, and we do them over and over in the same way, the ordinary transactions of everyday life are the very means of transfiguration.

It is the common stuff of this world which, because of the Word's having been "made flesh," is shot through with meaning, with charity, with the glory of God."

--Elisabeth Elliott

[I've been thinking of traditions and rituals this past week after baking the Kentucky Derby pie... once again.  It reminded me of a blog post I wrote long ago.  Some things have changed since then (sisters Sasha kitty and Stormi kitty were still alive) but much is the same.]  From 2007:

Spending time with the next generation (or the previous) always makes me think of all things called "Tradition" so I thought a wonderful subject to chat about today...actually two subjects that fit together nicely...would be Traditions and Rituals

Many of my favorite authors write a great deal about both subjects. I truly believe, as we look through the Word, God is very much a Person of both Traditions and Rituals.

I love all seasonal traditions...the first visit to the nursery to purchase annuals in the spring, visiting the farmers market every Saturday morning through the summer, attending the Feast of the Hunter's Moon every autumn and the corresponding aromas of cider and woodsmoke, noticing the first lights going up on the houses come Christmas...a full cycle of another year...a gift from God.

How rich in the Judeo-Christian culture are the rituals and traditions of the Church, many coming directly from the Old Testament where worship is embellished by that which is done the same way...each week...each Church calendar...each year. We've done it this way for... thousands of years...adjusted to fit the Incarnation of the One sent ...Yeushua...Messiah. 

How wonderful that in all we do, whether as a part of a great Body of Believers or in our own family...we can do it all to His honor and Glory...for even a drink of water given in His name is "a good thing".

I have long been a person who made certain we had plenty of family traditions. Food has been associated with many of our traditions like the Christmas Eve hors dourves dinner each year and the pastry and scrambled eggs we had before the early morning service at the Lutheran church my in-laws attended when we visited each Easter (to be followed by a delicious meal after church).

There was the choice of restaurant for each child's birthday (which was cheap when my son was little and McDonald's was always his preference); breakfast out on the first day of school for each child whether they were in the public schools, homeschooled, or in college and the first rhubarb pie of spring or apple pie in autumn...just to name a few.

My husband had to travel a great deal for his work so we had a tradition of ordering pizza the first night Dad was gone. When it was just my son and me left behind when we were living in Detroit, we walked to the local diner for breakfast each morning Dad left to catch his flight (which is why we were watching TV in that diner...on 9/11...with my husband in the air).

There are the rituals of daily life as in putting meals on the table...from the creative process when we are thinking..."What should the menu be this week to stretch the budget?", "Should I make a cake or cookies to serve along with watching the movie tonight?", "How can I get more veggies in our diet?".

Then there are the rituals involved in setting the table, serving the meals on pretty plates, as well as preparing the hot, sudsy water each plate and glass will go into before being washed and set in the drainer until it is time to put them away...for the next meal.

Each day brings its' own rituals such as a sunrise and a sunset...even if the hours vary from season to season. I have long known the very young need the security of daily rituals but I'm finding them more important again as I am getting older. There is great comfort in doing the same thing every day. 

Each morning I feed the cats if my husband hasn't already and then head straight for the coffeepot. I almost always turn on the local news to catch the weather report for the day. If the weather is nice, I will sit on the front porch for awhile to slowly wake up and on good days...get a quiet time in before the necessary activities of the day unfold.

Before I go to bed each night, I set out the two dishes for the kitties' food the next morning ...I prepare the coffee and set the timer on the coffee pot ...I get my favorite mug ready as well as my medication and insulin needle ...I check to make certain the doors are locked, the lights are turned off, and the cats are where they belong ...every night ...unless something else interrupts the regular cycle of very welcome guests.

There are even the little rituals associated with my Saturday evening tea time (which I've written about before). I usually brew a small pot of tea, place a couple of cookies on a plate, pick out a teacup from my collection, bring along the most recent book I'm reading, and spend the evening at my living room sofa enjoying a personal teatime...sometimes watching the British TV shows on our local PBS network...sometimes immersing myself in a great book.

My daughter is planning a new tradition for her family, that of a real Sunday afternoon teatime. I've loved the idea since reading Edith Schaeffer's books and the descriptions of their Sunday afternoon teas at L'Abri. It may not be large like the one at L'Abri but I'm certain her family will enjoy it very much.

I could spend a very long time writing about traditions and rituals...I'm certain I will return to the subjects again some day. However, for now I would love to hear what special rituals and/or traditions others incorporate into daily ...weekly ...monthly ...yearly living.


Sunshine said...

OH I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!!! I love reading about other people's traditions and rituals. My great grandmother would always paint her nails and watch the Lawrence Welk show, and after that study her Sunday School lesson for the next morning. I love thinking of her in her chair, she was such an incredible person.

I have built a small morning routine that I absolutely love, get up brew some coffee - grab my Bible, journal, and pen. If I am inside I light a candle, if I am out on our front porch I enjoy the birdsong. It is my favorite time of day.

Kathy T. said...

I probably have more traditions than I realize, but they are such a part of my life I don't even consciously think about them. One that did come to mind when reading about your kids' first day of school, is that I always took my twins out for ice cream on their first day of school. We would talk about their day, new teacher, friends, etc. My daughter continued going on her own during college, and my son has continued the tradition with my grandson. Traditions are fun and make such good memories! said...

We'll be doing rituals and traditions very soon, when we make our move back to Ohio. First up will be picking strawberries with the grandsons. They were here in Pennsylvania for one summer and we were able to that then, but now I'll have the time to can some strawberry syrup with them.
Lovely thoughts!

Deanna Rabe said...

So many good things here Brenda! I love rituals and traditions. I worked hard as a young mom to create a family culture of traditions, and fun around holidays, and birthdays etc.

I love the idea of afternoon tea on Sundays. I think I may need to follow Stephanie's example and give this a go!