And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David.
Luke 2:3-4 (NASB)
Tradition. Gingerbread houses, Christmas Eve church services, making tamales, last minute shopping, Christmas caroling, stocking stuffers, watching White Christmas (or Holiday Inn or Charley Brown Christmas or Grinch or Elf or the Hallmark Channel), decorating your home, your church, your yard, going to see Christmas lights, the white elephant game, cut out cookies, Secret Santa, too many to name. Christmas tradition is whatever you and your family make it.
This year in our home it was a Christmas of non-tradition all the way around. It started when we made the decision for me to have my right knee replaced on December 10. That would definitely put a kink in my energy level which is at full tilt on Christmas! That meant the tree had to be up 2 weeks early and all shopping had to be done and wrapped by December 8. A tall order for sure. I scheduled a date with my nieces and granddaughter to come bake cookies with me on the 20th thinking I would certainly be up to it by then. The cookies would be scaled down and just enough made to take to our family Christmas Eve brunch. No overflowing plates delivered to our dear friends on the 24th this year. Also only made one batch of my famous angel food candy which had to stretch over 9 families. Mission accomplished in part.
My kids had decided to visit their spouse’s families this year. One went to Oklahoma and one to South Dakota. Our dear friend Bill who always spends Christmas with us would be here so all was not lost. We would still have our Christmas morning waffles lovingly made from scratch by Bill. They are the best waffles made with cheese, bacon and pecans. Authentic maple syrup would accompany the hot waffles. These have been in the menu for 20 years! Bill’s parents live in Colorado and his dear mother had a stroke. Bill made the wise decision to go to Colorado for Christmas. No waffles. One more tradition foregone.
When the kids were little I started putting silly string in their stockings. It seemed like a fun idea so it stuck. We went out in to the back yard after our waffle breakfast and would go crazy getting each other with silly string. The fights didn’t last long but boy were they fun! We would run around the back yard laying in wait to ambush the target and let them have it. The beauty of silly string is that we live in San Diego and the weather cooperates and silly string dries on hard so it peels right off! No silly string this year. Can you just see me schlepping around the back yard in my walker trying to get away from Steve massacring me with mounds of colored string from a can?
So no waffles, no torrent of wrapping paper on Christmas morning, no overflowing Christmas cookie plates, no silly string fight, traditions out the window! Christmas Eve we were lovingly surrounded by our extended family and had lots of food, games and fun. That tradition remains solid. The one thing that always remains the same is the reason we have those traditions, the birth of Jesus. Jesus being born in culture steeped in tradition. That culture was upended when Rome demanded a census of the people. Each had to travel back to the town of his family origin to be counted. Families had to leave their homes, villages, jobs and businesses to make the trek to register. This was totally against tradition and as I was reading the Bible this morning that story struck a personal cord with me. Retelling this story never gets old. We can always find something fresh to celebrate about the birth of our Savior. Thank you dear Father for the gift that unwraps anew in our hearts every year; the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ the Lord. O, come let us afore Him.