Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Traditions

It's a Holly Jolly "Christmas" Blog Hop! That sounds like a kind of dance, doesn't it? Christmas Blog Hop? What is that anyway? According to my friend, Patty Wysong, the queen of all things meme, and reiterated by my sister/friend, Karla Akins (the author and creator of the Holly Jolly Blog Hop):

“What’s a meme? A meme is when a group of people get together and post on a similar topic or theme. It’s the blogger’s version of a progressive dinner…or a potluck dinner. Full of variety and fun.”

Having "said" that... on with this week's version of our Holly Jolly "Christmas" Blog Hop!

Holiday Traditions

Even though Thanksgiving is right around the just a few days...Christmas season usually begins when Thanksgiving is coming up. I don't know why. It seems to get earlier and earlier every year.

And while people begin hustling and bustling around, buying Christmas presents and hiding them from little "Nosy Nelson's," who want to snoop, I usually sit back and smile. I know, I'm not normal when it comes to the holidays.

When my kids were small, we always put our Christmas tree up on Thanksgiving night, after a day spent cooking tons of food, turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and all the fun stuff that goes into a good Thanksgiving dinner. 

We had so much fun putting up that tree. At least, I did. My husband and I would put the tree up, then the lights, and then let the kids have at it. Of course, I did do some decorating, but watching the kids argue over which ornaments they were going to put on always made me giggle...and referee. It was fun finding a clump of ornaments way down low where the youngest (or shortest) child felt compelled to "decorate." 

After that, we would begin our wait for the Christmas holiday by listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies. Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, then The Santa Clause, White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, all great movies to usher in the Christmas season. But one most important "tradition" we have, began when our oldest daughter was only 5 months old. Her first Christmas...about the First Christmas.

My husband and I were very young when we got married. A year later, Rachel came along. We were 19 and 20 at the time. D.A. decided that he wanted to read Rachel the "Christmas Story" out of the Bible. We weren't very active in church at the time, so he called one of the deacons of our church (who happened to be his uncle), and asked. Uncle Paul told him, "Go to Luke chapter two and start reading. You'll find it." So he did.

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered... Joseph went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem... ~Luke 2:1, 4a, NKJV

That Christmas, he read the story of Jesus' birth to our baby girl. Then a couple years later, to our two little girls. Then a few years later, to our two girls, and little boy. All through the years he read every Christmas Eve. Even after our kids got married. They always made sure they were present at our house on Christmas Eve for dinner, presents, and then... The Christmas Story.

...because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. ~Luke 2:4b-6, NKJV

In 2006, our first grandson, Radley, was born. Christmas Eve, we did our traditional dinner and presents. We hadn't said a lot about the traditional reading, because by now, we figured that the kids were old enough to carry on the tradition. But a very wonderful thing happened that night: While we were lounging on the bed with the baby, our youngest daughter, Katie came into our room, carrying her daddy's Bible. She was followed by the rest of the kids, Rachel, and Logan, and our "new kids," the sons-in-love, Jake, and Brett.

"Here, Dad. It's time to read." She handed D.A. his Bible and then all the kids piled on the bed like it was the first Christmas all over again. The baby lying in the middle between all of them. D.A. said to them, "Oh, you need to start your own tradition of reading to him." But they wouldn't have it. Something about, "It's not the same." So... "Paw Paw" opened up his Bible and began reading, while a precious little 5-month-old baby boy kept reaching up, touching his face.

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. ~Luke 2:7, NKJV

All our kids are now married. The girls each have a son, Radley and Abe. And this year, Rachel, Jake, and Abraham, have moved to Louisiana. We aren't sure about Christmas Eve this year. But just a few days ago, Rachel and Abe (he's 2) were here for a few days to visit, and make a Thanksgiving dinner. While we were talking, Rachel pulled a book out of her bag and handed it to her daddy.

"Here. I got this for you to record for Abe since we probably won't be here for Christmas Eve. At least you can still read the Christmas Story to him." It was a recordable book of the first Christmas.

This year, it will be the 30th year for reading the Christmas Story. 

Holiday Traditions. Start early. When your kids grow up, they'll make traditions of their own. However... they will still incorporate the ones you taught them into theirs as well. For that I say, Thank You, Jesus.

Christmas Eve 2012
LtoR back: Brett & Katie, Logan & Rhiannon, with Emmie, Jake & Rachel
Front: Radley, PawPaw (D.A.) Abe, Nonney (me), and Buster

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Karla Akins said...

Oh, my heart just swells with joy at how very blessed you are with a loving family!

Shelley Wilburn said...

Aw, thank you, Karla! God has definitely blessed me beyond my wildest dreams! My cup most assuredly runneth over!!

Patty Wysong said...

Waaaaa! You HAD to go and make me cry?!

Katie was right. It's not the same as when Pappy reads it (but it's still very very good). I can't hear Luke 2 read without hearing my Dad's voice reading it--regardless of who reads it and where we are. Jim reads it for us here. He started that first year Mom and Dad didn't come for Christmas, and I'm so very glad!! I love it. It's one of my favorite parts of Christmas...but I'll also hear Dad's voice in the echo. =]

Loved this post, Shelley. =]

Shelley Wilburn said...

Awww! If it's any consolation, Patty, D.A. cried when I read this post to him, too. Of course, I had to keep it together to be able to read because I almost cried, too! So very thankful for those memories and traditions. You have a very, very special one. I hope you always hear that "echo."

Love you, sis! <3

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