When I was growing up, the day after Thanksgiving was always one of the best. My dad and one of his friends planted three acres of pine trees on a north facing hill. The plan was that one-day mom and dad would build their dream home in the middle of those pine trees.
“O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree How lovely are thy branches.”
As life happens, those house plans stayed in that cardboard tube and never grew at all. Ahhh..but those pine trees? They grew and grew and grew, and after Thanksgiving, the phone rang and rang and rang.
Lucky for me, Dad and I (probably my big brother too, but I was to self-involved to log that into my memory banks) would walk through that towering green forest (at least it was to me) to find the perfect tree to tag just for us. By the time we returned, Mom would have hot chocolate waiting with plenty of marshmallows.
“Your boughs so green in summertime Stay bravely green in wintertime.”
As the first weeks of December began, Mom would have some kind of Christmas craft for us to do together. Sometimes they were for us; but most of the time, we would give them away. Sometimes to relatives. Sometimes to friends. Sometimes dropped off in secret as a Christmas miracle.
Nighttimes were devoted to watching mom sit at the cardboard table, writing card after card while Dad and I watched TV, read, or individually – a nap for Dad and homework for me. Friends, Relatives, Dad’s Army buddies, Business acquaintances. I still don’t know how she ever managed to work a full-time job, put up with me, care for a husband who had his first of three heart attacks when I was 10, and write L-O-N-G greetings to each person on the list.
“Let us all remember our gift giving and our merriment with our family and friends and loved ones real and true meaning of Christmas birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ”
That Gratitude Attitude kicked in today as I finished up my own tradition of decorating around the house by the end of Thanksgiving weekend. My furbaby who tore her ACL now is sick and not eating. We are praying it is a passing thing, but the worry is still lurking as I sit on the floor with her and look at the decorations around the house.
“When I look back on the suffering in my life, this may sound really strange, but I see it now as a gift. I would have never asked for it for a second. I hated it while it was happening and I protested as loudly as I could, but suffering happened anyway. Now, in retrospect I see the way in which it deepened my being immeasurably.” ~ Ram Dass
Traditions are treasures to hold close to the heart. However, those traditions tend to change as one family member morphs their traditions with a spouse’s traditions.
There is only one constant. One very precious constant.
While I am thankful for traditions, I am more thankful for the birth of a baby. A baby who brought us more than traditions. He brought us a new covenant a new chance to return to the Garden, a new chance to see Him face-to-face.
Grace. “O tannenbaum, o tannenbaum How lovely are, are thy branches.”~”O Tannenbaum”, 1824
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