Wordfull Wednesday: Christmas traditions
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.
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..
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.
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.
Read about more Christmas traditions at Chocolate on My Cranium