Can you believe it’s mid-December already? It’s one of my favorite times of the year when the weather gets cold and winter comes to the Ozarks of Oklahoma.
In the Ozarks the land can look rugged and stark as the hardwood trees are bare and the prairies have turned gold and lifeless. But there is a beauty in the barrenness that only happens in winter. Sunrises and sunsets burst through the barrenness in such splendor that if you are outside, you’ll stop what you are doing to watch the majesty.
I tend to believe that was what seeing the star was like so long ago. The anticipation that the starlight meant something. That something special was coming or beneath it. Can you imagine being drawn to such a light as the wise men were?
During December our family puts up the tree early in the month, we light it with bright white lights and no decorations for the first twenty days of December. We light candles to enjoy there quiet of the evenings. We encourage quieter evenings and family time together. We watch more movies and share more about stories growing up it seems. We enjoy the anticipation of a family night when we adorn the tree and remember Christmases past and family members no longer with us. We remember how generations of our family have trusted God differently. All of our family believes in God, but we get there different ways. We celebrate those differences in December as we adorn the tree. We celebrate Passover and we look forward to the day we celebrate Christ’s birth…it’s not that the day is accurate to the birth, but the importance of taking time in our lives to acknowledge the wonder of the gift of the birth.
On December 20th there are stories of great grandparents and new pictures of cousins. There are hanging ornaments from elementary days and fancy ones that friends made. The evening is about re-telling and sharing family stories and our history together as a family. We’re a blended family so there are many different experiences to share. We don’t try to replicate everyone’s every tradition, but to celebrate each person’s favorite experiences and sharing others we do not do as a blended family.
I am ever reminded that the tree for our family means loving all branches, that the star at its top reminds us that God guides us all. The presents underneath to be willing to share what we have with others.
As a younger mom and bride I put tremendous pressure on myself to “do Christmas” as a blended family I felt the added pressure of being a “remarried family” and we tried to do ALL the things… at this age I know the best gift I can give my family is love without pressure, celebrations without conflict, and that is exactly how plan December…it’s a come if you can affair, and set on alternate dates…after all we love each other every day of the year. Even when we don’t like each other at times…all family have their days.
What December traditions do you share? What ones will you begin this year?