Friday, 7 December 2012
Traditions . . .
Traditions, traditions. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as... as... as a fiddler on the roof! ~Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof
I think most people and families have an inherent love for tradition, and never more so than at this time of the year. There are the traditions we have grown up with . . . and the new ones we bring into our homes when we begin to build a family of our own.
I think most hearts long for a Currier and Ives feeling about Christmas, complete with gently falling snow, fast runnered sleighs, fur lap robes, prancing horses with jingling bells, and Grandfather cutting the tree down in his own woodlot . . . dragging it home through the woods so that it arrives in the house smelling all windswept and of the outdoors, snow and pine. Where carols are heard on every street corner . . . and magic rests in every nook and cranny of our homes and hearts.
The reality is often quite different however . . . and in seeking out that Currier and Ives Christmas, we can often find ourselves harassed and over-stretched beyond belief . . . the hunt for that "perfect" Christmas having taxed our abilities, and our wallets . . . far beyond that which is humanly possible for any one person to bear.
It doesn't have to be perfect . . . and it doesn't have to be Currier and Ives beautiful . . . because Christmas isn't in the tinsel and the baubles . . . it's in the heart. It's in the small and homey traditions which we carry down through our families, which are as indigenous to us as having brown eyes, dark hair and dimpled chins . . . it's being given pajamas and a book on Christmas Eve to go to bed with, and in waking up in the morning to a stocking laying at our feet. It's knowing that no matter what might be peeking out of the top of that stocking . . . there will be some nuts to crack, a candy cane, and a plump and juicy tangerine in the toe.
It's found in sharing the Christmas story with each other on Christmas Eve if that is what you do, and we do . . . and watching a Christmas Carol on the telly . . . at least once during the month of December . . . the old one with Allister Sims . . . and Charlie Brown's Christmas . . . and The Grinch . . . It's a Wonderful Life . . . or whatever story or film tugs on your heart in that only at Christmas time type of way . . .
Its in Roast Beef and Yorkshire puddings, or Roast Turkey or Ham . . . whatever is a tradition for your family to eat and share on Christmas day . . . with the crisp roasted potatoes, the stuffing, the cranberries . . . the trifle and the yule log . . . the sprouts and the Christmas Pudding . . . but mostly in the happy faces sitting around the table, crossing arms to pull the crackers . . . wearing silly hats, telling silly jokes and sitting around afterwards to watch the Queen's Christmas message on the telly . . . buttons and belts undone . . . and the warmth of family love filling the room like nothing else can . . . turkey sandwiches shared on Christmas Eve . . . and warm mince pies.
It's being able to put a fiver into the Salvation Army bucket, as the wonder of snowflakes fall on your nose and eye lashes . . . and slipping Christmas Cards and wishes through all the mail slots in the neighborhood just because. You may never have the opportunity to see or speak to them the rest of the year . . . but Christmas . . . 'tis the season of good will and cheer . . . it's the nativity pageant at church . . . and the carols sung each Sunday morning, the whole month through.
It's knowing that whatever may or may not be beneath the tree each year . . . one thing never changes . . . it's pure and simple . . . and it's love. Love for family, love for friends, love for strangers . . . and the love which sent a simple king to be born in a humble place, to save the whole of mankind.
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." ~Luke 2:10 -14
It's in knowing . . . knowing . . . this to be absolutely true, and pondering it in your heart all the year through.
They can call it what they will . . . but I know it's CHRISTmas. Deep in their hearts . . . so do all men.
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Bacon Cheeseburger Pie.
"We all have angels guiding us . . . They look after us. They heal us, touch us, comfort us with invisible warm hands . . . What will bring their help? Asking. Giving thanks.