In the past couple of months, we’ve started this thing on Sunday morning. The Hubby gets up and starts a fire in the patio wood stove. The daughter brings her family for breakfast. And me? Well – I manage to roll out of bed a few minutes before they arrive and start my portion of whatever kind of the breakfast meal is on the agenda. And if I am really on my game, I set out some kind of craft on Saturday night for the kids to work on while they wait for breakfast to finish up. Last week it was looking through circulars and making wish lists.
Today – – – it was THE CHRISTMAS BELL.
Not sure when we started the Christmas Bell tradition, but I’m pretty sure we were still living in Killbuck, and it took both me and Grandma Mickey to help get the kids’ bells done. Where the idea came from?? I have no clue, but it might have been a suggestion from one of the teachers I worked with at West Holmes or something that I read – somewhere. All I really know is that the tradition continued through our many Perrysville homesteads and on into NC.
Christmas music playing on the record player, cassette tape, CD or radio. A plain paper bell waiting to be decorated. A short poem that the kidlets would trace or copy or write (and that grown kidlets can still recite today). A paper chain of whatever paper we could scrounge up. Bouncing kids squabbling over scissors, crayons, markers, glitter, tape, glue, etc. And finally – a couple of tired parents or Grandma Mickey who all had love lights in their eyes at night as they tucked those kidlets into bed “after prayers had been said”.
Traditions are special. Whether it is Sunday morning breakfasts or pigroasts or family reunions or Christmas Bells…traditions carry much more than just the activity. Jewish traditions suggest that way, way back in time, Adam sat down and noticed that the days were growing shorter after he and Eve were kicked out of the garden. He prayed and fasted wondering if there would continue to be light in the world after choosing to eat that one piece of fruit. However with time, he noticed God started lengthening the days. His prayers had been answered.
Throughout Jewish history, God continued to bring light to the darkening world. Moses noticed the burning bush. Moses brought down Light from Mt. Sinai. The Macabees, after being lost in the darkness of their culture for many years, found one blessed oil container that miraculously remained untouched, and it supplied light in the temple for 8 days instead of one. A baby boy born on a dark night in a tiny stable with a dirt floor and laid in a manager.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”~ Matt 5:17
Hanukkah was a relatively new festival when Jesus was walking this earth. Yet, it was a festival that he would have honored during his time as a man. His own words continue to push us to notice all the times God has put His Light in front of us – IF – we just notice.
Adam noticed more light.
Moses noticed the burning bush.
When Moses brought the Jewish people to Mount Sinai, they noticed the fire and the shaking of the earth.
The shepherds and wisemen noticed the Light in the sky and followed it.
We just have to notice. We don’t have to find reasons or logic to explain the miraculous, we just have to notice its existence and praise God for reminding us that He always provides the Light to our the darkness. Faith mixed with a simple action of “thanks” thins the veil between earth and heaven just a little more, and we can almost feel the touch of His hand as He covers us with His love.
“For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”~Matt 5:18-20
A good way to start the first day of Hanukkah and the first Sunday of Advent as we notice Our Father continuing to add Light back in our world of darkness.