Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lead us to the Guiding Light

Lead us to the Perfect Light

With the frigid weather and the snow falling outdoors, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. At my house, we begin our Christmas Eve dinner by breaking wafers with each guest seated at the table. Not only is this said to bring good luck, but it is our way of sharing what we have with one another.
What makes Christmas special to me is the traditions passed on from generation to generation, instilling in me a strong sense of hearth and home. After the breaking of the wafers, the well wishes and cheers, and the feast prepared by many hands, we reminisce over coffee and dessert. Sooner or later, one of us will bring up the good old days when we were kids and put up our train set in the basement, our own little Santa village.
It all started on Thanksgiving weekend, the entire family trooping downstairs like little elves, each with a designated task. My dad and brother put up the platform, carefully nailing the track down, hammering away like Santa’s helpers. My sister and I were in charge of going through box after box of houses, telephone poles, street lamps and tunnels, dusting them off and making them shine for “Light up” night.
After a few hours, the insatiable aroma of sugar cookies wafted from the kitchen, and before long, Mom brought down a platter of the oven-fresh cookies, our family dog hot on her heels. We’d dust off our hands, turn off the lights and watch our little village come to life while sipping on hot cocoa and holiday treats.
A week or so before Christmas, the freshly cut tree went up, filling the house with the heady scent of pine. We strung popcorn and trimmed the plump tree with bright lights and shiny ornaments, icicles and the angel tree top. The Nativity Set was placed below the tree, the cardboard lid staying closed until Christmas morning when the Christ child was exposed, along with the Holy Family, The Three Wise Men and manger animals. Before we opened our gifts, we’d kneel down and wish the Baby Jesus a Merry Christmas.
One Christmas Day, we went to my aunts for dinner. To our amazement, she brought out a birthday cake with no candles. Her entire family sang “Happy Birthday Dear Jesus, Happy Birthday to you.”
This memory has burned a lasting imprint in my brain, one I often reflect on when holiday stress gets the best of me. How easy it is to get caught up in the madness of the season, the shopping, the baking, the business. Year after year, the true meaning of Christmas is lost in the shuffle.
I’d like to start a new tradition this year in honor of my aunt. In these trying times, let’s find it in our hearts to remember why Our Savior was born—to lead us to the perfect light.
“Happy Birthday Dear Jesus, Happy Birthday to you!”

Have a comment? Please leave one.

My favorite will win a prize—to be announced on Christmas Eve. Wishing you a wonderful and blessed Christmas.

Sharon Donovan

JANUARY 7, 2009

FEBRUARY 25, 2009

MARCH 18, 2009


Kara Lynn Russell said...

Welcome to the White Roses in Bloom blog! Thank you for sharing these Christmas memories with us. It brought back some childhood memories for me, too.

liana laverentz said...

Hi, Sharon,

What lovely holiday tradtions your family had and has! Merry Christmas!

Rosemary said...

You are truly an Angel. I have enjoyed getting to know you through our writing group. Since we're talking about Christmas, however, I have to tell you what my husband used to do when our kids were little. He'd never let them put the kings under the tree. "They're on their way," he'd tell them, and the kids would have to look all over the house to find the wandering wise men. Every day they'd get a little closer and eventually the kids would find the Kings outside of the door. "Well, are you going to let them in?" he'd ask. Finally the children could place the Kings by the manger where they could worship--with the rest of us.

Penny Rader said...

Two years ago, exactly two weeks before Christmas, my granddaughter, Alexis, who was just over five months old, suddenly left us and went to heaven. Christmas day was hard and a bit somber, but we all knew we had been truly blessed to have our feisty little Lexi with us for those 23 weeks. She was our little angel. Our family gave each other angels for Christmas and received them as gifts from friends. I keep one of them on my tv. Itlights up when it is turned on.

Nicola said...

What a wonderful story. One of my favourite movie scenes is in "Bells of Saint Mary's" when the first graders put on their own ad-libbed Christmas play and they end it with "Happy Birthday."

Traditions are wonderful reminders of togetherness and continuity. Thanks for sharing, Sharon.

Kathleen said...

Sharon, What nice memories you have and am wishing you many more this holiday season.