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Archive for December, 2016

Christmas

51xw909pyml__sx258_bo1204203200_Christmas Day, 2016, has come and gone. All the weeks of anticipation, shopping, food planning and preparation, writing and sending out Christmas cards, presents wrapped, and secrets whispered to Santa Claus, are some of the traditions of this celebration.

I am always amused when I hear people speak of the charm of an old fashioned Christmas because I was born early enough, and poor enough, to appreciate what an old fashioned Christmas really is. If we had to put the forethought and preparation into it, Christmas would under go a speedy metamorphosis that would give a picture more reminiscent of life in the late 1940’s through to the 1990’s of that nostalgic old fashioned Christmas. I am thankful I don’t have to raise a turkey, then, when the time is right, chop off it’s head, clean it out and pick off it’s feathers.  The same applies to geese or any other fowl, whether tame or wild .  I appreciate the opportunity to purchase a turkey that has been flash frozen and sealed in plastic for my protection. About the only old fashioned thing about my Christmas turkey is the stuffing.

I still make stuffing the way my mother taught me and she learned from her mother and so on down through the generations.  I still use the same ingredients and method and like it enough to shove my hand, full of the uncooked dressing, through the bottom end of the bird and stuff it’s hollowed out carcass until it is ready to fall out the other end.

Just imagine the gifts; I do not embroider hankies for my daughters, they use disposable tissues. I do not knit socks for my husband or son, as they are quite content to grab a package of 10 pair for $4.99 or other ‘bargain bin’ find.

Gift buying had it’s limits. Debt was not even considered at an old fashioned Christmas, this is one tradition that needs to be reintroduced.  Our family tradition is ‘three gifts for each one because Jesus got three gifts from the Wise Men.’ I am finding the new guidelines of four things for each, one thing they want, one thing they need, a book and one thing to do, an excellent guideline as well, and it helps budgets because it sets limits. .

The dream of an old fashioned Christmas can still be built into our memories when the TV and electronics are turned off and activities are carried out instead. Things like board games, cards, skating, tobogganing, and talking,  are enjoyed instead. It is about time together, shared experiences and a lot of laughter that create those memories that we will remember as an old fashioned Christmas.

 

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Really?

I wrote a post about Christmas and how it is celebrated by different people and customs. I got a message that the author felt they must tell me that it all evolved from imageszyixe3hoa pagan festival. The celebration of light returning was an excellent teaching opportunity for the church. In Christian faith the light coming into the world is Jesus, from whom we gain salvation in the world darkened by sin. Most people of that time were illiterate and very superstitious so why not use this time of year to turn a pagan festival into one that teaches how Christ is the light of the Christian faith.  Who cares when the “real” birthdate of Jesus was? It really does not matter, the lesson in hope and salvation was made in a time when people could ‘see’ the light and ‘see’ the escape from darkness (ignorance).

 

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Christmas Pudding

l56756-the-grinch-logo-65964I enjoy Christmas and all the fuss and busyness of the season. I have an Advent calendar, an Advent wreath and Advent candles. I do Advent devotions and attend Christmas church services.  I also hang stockings for Santa Claus to fill with goodies and presents under the decorated Christmas tree. I have a foot in both the religious and secular world during this season.

Some would say you can’t have it both ways and to them I say, “Yes I can and will.”  Never has a season that is viewed as a time of peace ever been so controversial. What gives people? Everyone clamouring to be right. Guess what? You are right no matter how you celebrate Christmas.

I have a dear friend who raised her children with a religious view of Christmas and her children knew the presents came from the parents. My children knew this was a time to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, Jesus but they also believed that Santa Claus left the presents and filled their stockings.  Guess what? All the children were happy and excited about Christmas and overjoyed at the gifts they received.

My point is, no matter how you celebrate in your family, it is the right way for you and yours. These squabbles over how it should be celebrated, if it should be celebrated and when it should be celebrated (for my Orthodox friends) it is right.

Traditions seem to be dying out faster than hand written letters but it is just those very traditions that keep us connected to the past and with our ancestors. I 12373398_1054530267900672_8302093150560862531_nhave an old, patterned, heavy glass dish I got when my Mother passed away. She got it from my Grandma and she got it from my late Great Grandmother.

It was the dish that was always reserved to hold the cranberry sauce at special family gatherings such as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.  I do the same. Another tradition that has evolved over the years is for Grandma to give presents to the grandchildren to open on Christmas Eve, each one containing a new pair of washed pyjamas and a new book, paper dolls, movie or other quiet activity.

So no matter how you celebrate, or even whether you celebrate, lets agree we all need a time out to sit back and think about peace and how we can do our part to make it happen.

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