As you read the title of this final Christmas post– what picture comes to mind?
For me, it was when I was a little girl, growing up in a very cold and wintry Scotland. A week before Christmas, we would go and choose our cut Fir tree from the “Xmas tree shop” which would then be brought into our lounge. My Dad would secure it in a plant pot and the decorating would begin. This was a family affair, my parents, my brothers and I would all participate in the decorating of the tree, which would stand tall in the bay window. As the parcels arrived in the post each day, the anticipation of Christmas morning and all these special surprises would grow.
Another memory that springs to mind was attending the late night Christmas service at our local church, I felt SO grown up when I was allowed to stay up for that service, then home to bed for Great Uncle’s knitted stocking was hung on my bedroom door handle in expectation of some surprises in the morning, and I could go on….
Over the years I have had the privilege of celebrating Christmas in four different continents and since settling in South Africa, nearly thirty years ago, I have grown accustomed to Christmas in the sun, and created new traditions here which my grown children are now re-working to fit into their new homes and extended family.
As we move towards independence, we bring a rich history of our traditions and celebrations, all of which seem THE way to do things – Brene Brown in her book ‘Daring Greatly” defines culture as “the way we do things around here” – and that essentially is what traditions are;
a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc. for a long time. (Merriam Webster thesaurus)
When we create our new family through marriage or committed relationship, we are essentially bringing two family cultures together and have the opportunity to create a new way of doing things – “our way” – bringing the best from each of your traditions into your home and blending what has been important to each of you in your family of origin to this new family. Often it is only upon the arrival of children in a family that these conversations begin in a meaningful way.
So in these last few days before the shops close and church bells will be ringing out across our communities…
I invite you to sit down with your family and share your childhood stories about Christmas time, share what you loved about this season of good news and goodwill… and if it was a difficult time for you, share that too.
Whoever you gather with, this Christmas time, may you be blessed with good company, deep friendship and unconditional love and acceptance!
God Bless you.