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Wordfull Wednesday: Christmas traditions

December 15, 2011

Cocoa’s Wordfull Wednesday topic for today is your favorite Christmas tradition (or two or three.)  It’s a good thing she added that two or three, because I don’t know that I could narrow it down to just one.  We don’t have a lot of set in stone must-do traditions, but there are a few things that really make the season for me.

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Number one is light.  I love to see light during this darkest time of the year.  I love candlelight.  I love Christmas tree lights. I love driving around and seeing lights on houses.  It always gives me a thrill.  There is a street in our city (a cul-de-sac really) named Christmas Street and it’s always fun to drive down it in December when practically every house is lit up.  But for the biggest thrills, Temple Square cannot be beat.  I love the luminarias, the floating lights on the reflecting pool, and the nativity sets from around the world that are on display.  Most of all, I love seeing the temple surrounded by thousands of lights and I love the spirit that is felt there.

Number two is music.  Because my dad is a choral conductor, just about every memory I have of Christmas includes music.  It’s been such a huge part of our lives and I don’t think I enjoy any other part of the season quite so much, especially the music that celebrates the birth and life of our Savior.  I love true carols.

Being a cellist myself, I can get pretty committed to performing in December, but this year I chose not to be a part of my symphony’s Christmas concert.  I felt impressed to let that concert go so I could spend more time with my family and have a little less stress (which has been a blessing this week in particular.)  We’re still surrounded by music however.  My dad’s choir has a musical devotional that we try to attend every year and my parents always give us tickets to the Utah Symphony children’s Christmas concert.  At home, A and C can both frequently be found at the piano playing carols and I have a number of of King’s College Choir and Tabernacle Choir cds (my favorites) that we listen to.  A lot.  I especially love listening to the live radio broadcast of the King’s College Christmas Eve service which occurs at 8 a.m. in our time zone.  It’s always a nice way to start off the day.  I just can’t resist scripture readings and carols in English accents!  We also have a carol to sing every day in connection with our Advent readings.

So number three would be Advent in some form or fashion.  For years now, we’ve hung up a quilted Advent tree and every morning the boys take turns hanging up a new little ornament as we count down to Christmas.  This year we’ve added in nightly scripture readings and carols while A and C light their countdown candles..

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This year we’ve also been reading scriptures and singing carols for each of the four Sundays of Advent.  It has been a wonderful new tradition for us and one that I know we will continue as we seek to place a greater emphasis on the Savior at this time of year.

We’ve chosen not to make much mention of Santa at all and really the only place we encounter him is the annual ward Christmas party (ask me how I feel about this–why couldn’t we have a visit from the Wise Men instead?)  Instead, through our daily readings and carols, we get to focus on Christ and what He did for us and what Christmas is really all about.

For one more of our traditions is going to the cemetery.

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My two brothers both passed away the week of Christmas (different years) and this time of year can be tough to get through.  But I have found that the traditions that point me toward Christ are what help me reconcile deep feelings of sadness with the anticipation and excitement of this season of the year.  I know that through the life of Him whose birth we celebrate, true joy and peace will be found.  For it is not just a birth that we celebrate, but the life of our Savior and the reality of His resurrection.  It is these which bring the sweet assurance that families can be together forever, and that I will see my brothers and sisters once again, whole and perfect.

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Read about more Christmas traditions at Chocolate on My Cranium

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2011 8:24 am

    Wow. You snagged a terrific picture of the temple. Beautiful.
    Merry Christmas!

  2. December 15, 2011 10:45 am

    When I was little and live in SLC we always went to visit Temple Square. Then when we lived in Georgia my dad decided to bring Temple Square to us! He always decorated the trees lining our driveway, and some in the woods in front of our house just like those on Temple Square. It was beautiful!

    And I love the visit from the Three Wise Men idea! We haven’t had our ward Christmas party yet. Maybe I can talk our bishop into it by then…… 😉

  3. jenw permalink
    December 15, 2011 12:08 pm

    the 3 wise men idea is awesome. have you ever pitched it to anyone in the ward? Also, where do you pick up the King’s College radio broadcast? I’m sure i can ask google, as well….

  4. Stephanie permalink
    December 17, 2011 11:11 am

    Isn’t it wonderful to have the Plan of Salvation and having the knowledge that we will meet all our loved ones again? My father’s birthday is in December and I miss him every Christmas and I, too am greatly comforted by this knowledge.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  5. December 19, 2011 9:01 am

    I have often thought it strange that Santa Claus is at the Church Christmas party. It is the only Santa thing we do to other than sing a few of the Santa songs and watch a few Santa movies. Our Christmas traditions do tend to be more Christ focused, thank goodness. Although I did use the pictures from our Ward Christmas party for our cards this year, Santa and all. Oh, well…. we just don’t have many pictures taken with all of us in it.

    We have recently had a loved one pass on and are planning to attend a funeral in the next few days. I have actually attended several over the years the week just before Christmas. I don’t know if it is just a good time of year to be called home or perhaps I can just recall the time better because of the holiday. It does make the whole plan of salvation very real and the reason for such a celebration all the more joyous.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

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