Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Past

A couple of weeks ago, several friends and I sat around and talked about Christmas traditions. I remember the frantic activity on Christmas Eve. We raced to clean the house, set the table, and do all the cooking. My grandma's specialty, red cabbage simmering on the stove, sent me into a frenzy. I fled outside to escape. How I hated that strong aroma! Adulthood transformed my tastes. I now look forward to red cabbage. LOL!

No matter what day Christmas fell on, it started with church. My family didn't own a car, so that meant a long trip via public transportation. Occasionally, someone would have compassion on us and pick us up for church. I bundled up to face the elements, casting a longing gaze at the presents under the tree.

When we arrived home, family and friends soon showed up at our door. "Now, Mom? Can we open presents now?" All the kids groaned when the usual answer dashed our hopes. We'd have to wait until after Christmas dinner.

Family members have long since moved out of state or departed for heaven. Christmas is now spent with friends. One thing remains stable, unshakeable: our focus on the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Traditions may change, but He's the same yesterday, today and forever!

12 comments:

Christina Berry said...

Funny, as soon I read "cabbage" my mouth was watering, yet I disliked it greatly as a child!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Christina -

It's definitely an acquired taste! Now, I look forward to it. We only make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Inspire said...

Christmas has changed for me as well. During the years that my brother and sister, and my husband and I, were raising our children, we held big Christmas celebrations at my parent's house. The children are all grown into their twenties, and my dear father passed away last New Year's Eve. Christmas is now just me, my husband, and boys, with a quiet visit with my mother who is 84.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but for many people it is accompanied with depression, or grief over the loss of loved ones. I think if we could get away from the commercialism, there would be less pressure.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if our church leaders made an announcement that December 25 is not the actual date of our Lord's birth, but the date one of the Pope's chose. Last night on PBS was a fascinating documentary about the Maji and how that biblical scholars now believe the Lord was born in April near the time of the Passover. He is our Passover Lamb.

Could we as Christians change to the right date? If they can prove that he was born in April, we would be celebrating his birth, death on the cross, and his resurrection. Something to contemplate.

Jessica said...

Amen to that!
Hmmm, I don't think I've ever eaten cabbage. So you opened presents after Christmas dinner. That's interesting.
Hope you have a wonderful one this year. :-)

quietspirit said...

Susan:
I enjoy hearing about other people memories of family and Christmas traditions.
It is such a joy to read your blog entries.

Sarah said...

I love cabbage. I even like the smell! Always have...wierd?

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi InSpire -

Thank you for sharing how your Christmas celebrations have changed. When I look back, I can hardly believe so many years have passed.

While I still get sad and miss my husband, the pain is not what it was a year ago. My husband had a tradition before we even met, and which continued until he died. During some part of the Christmas season, we'd go out for a big brunch with his grown sons.

I've continued that as much as possible. One of the boys lives out of state and can't always make it. My Mom and the younger stepson's bride have now joined the group.

Yes, I've heard that Jesus' birth was most likely in the Spring. I think it's up to each one of us to make the celebration about Him no matter what date is chosen.

I hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

I love the fact that God has made each one as unique as snowflakes. The last few weeks, I've enjoyed seeing how others celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Blessings,
Susan :)

Kathryn said...

Hey Susan,

When my husband and I were dating and first married we attended Midnight Mass - that stopped quickly when kids came along. We do still focus on Christ - and the Advent Calendar and Advent wreaths are important reminder of that.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kathryn -

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your Christmas observances.

One of the things I like to do every year is read the account of Jesus' birth in scripture. Not a fast run through - but really taking my time and absorbing the scene. It helps me focus on Him.

My friends make sure the little ones know it's Jesus' birthday. One friend actually had a birthday cake every year for Jesus as part of their celebration.

Merry Christmas!

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sarah -

My Mom's cabbage is awesome. Actually, the recipe was handed down from my grandma. It's difficult to make because they make it by "taste," adding a little of this and a little of that.

Merry Christmas!

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

Our version is red cabbage as opposed to the usual green stuff. If you ever get a chance to try it, don't pass it up.

Waiting to open presents until after dinner was torture. I envied the kids who got to tear into the gifts when they woke up. Ah, lessons in patience.

Merry Christmas!

Blessings,
Susan :)