Tag Archives: traditions

THE CHRISTMAS BELL

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.

Light Be!

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.

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #24

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
In our gift giving and our merriment
With our family and friends and loved ones
The real and true meaning of Christmas
The 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.

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  [personal image]christmas 2017 d

RATIONS 100 DAYS!#27

Long ago when my husband and I first got married, we decided we would always celebrate the wonder of the day with a pig roast on Memorial Day weekend. Our daughter carries on her own version of this by having a Labor Day cook out in NC.

Traditions have a way of tying generations together. As old traditions morph into variations of the old, the essence of the family love remains at its heart and grows larger and more encompassing as it mixes new knowledge and excitement with the wisdom and joy of the old world.

As I finished making potluck cookies for my daughter’s get-together, I read today’s Ration. Amazing, how the wisdom of the ages never truly ‘ages’. It continues to speak as loudly to me as it did to my dad in 1945. I copied this statement to hang in my war room. It is the wisdom of the ages that still speaks to me today: “The world can be transformed only by those who have the courage of their conviction, who try always and everywhere to do the Christian thing irrespective of what others are doing and regardless of cost.”

1942 Daily Ration:

“And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.”~Mk 15:15

It is very disquieting to realize that the paramount factor determining Pilate’s decision to release Barabbas and condemn Christ was that commonplace motive which operates in our experience constantly: ‘the desire to content the people’. Pilate’s conduct was prompted, not by the dictates of his conscience but by the demands of the crowd.

“The disposition to please and conform to crowd constitutes the most subtle and powerful temptation confronting many Christians today. The slogan’Everybody’s doing it,’ exercises a strong psychological appeal Most of us have a natural reluctance to be different for fear we will be considered queer. The phrase, ‘crowd morality,’ suggests those conventional standards which are generally acceptable but which are far below the exalted ideals of Christ…

“It is extremely sobering to reflect hat the disposition to put popularity above principle did to Christ. It should help us, when we are tempted, to visualize the Master on his cross and to refuse to yield. The world can be transformed only by those who have the courage of their conviction, who try always and everywhere to do the Christian thing irrespective of what others are doing and regardless of cost.

“Prayer: Eternal God, implant inn us the fortitude to do right no matter what others may thing say or do. We ask it in Christ’s name. Amen.”