RevHRod debated with herself about serious vs lighthearted on the F5 this week, The playful side triumphed and she says: "So after consulting with my fourteen year old daughter, we're going playful, pals o' mine! I love stories, so I hope you'll tell some about your favorite Christmas memories."
What was one of your favorite childhood gifts that you gave? It varied from year to year with maturity and income but hands down it was always whatever I gave my mom. I have no idea now, of course what all those things were through the years. I'm sure some were fine gifts, given with much thought, some were given from a child's perspective...."I like them, I know she would." Some years it was difficult, I was broke, time was tight and I did not do as well. The last year she was in the nursing home was hard, too....she had lost so much ability to "be" in life, there was little to gift her with that she could really partake of. But whatever the gift, extravagant or tiny, thoughtful or cobbled together at the last minute....she always recieved it with such grace and wonder and appreciation. Especially as a kid it made it fun to give her presents....it made me feel like the best gift-giver in the world!
What is one of your favorite Christmas recipes? Bonus points if you share the recipe with us. My friend Jan's Hot Buttered Rum...It is sooooo good. I know it has about forty bazillion calories and I.Don't. Care. I don't have the recipe but I'd rather just sit in her lovely recliner by her fireplace and sip away at hers than make my own anyway.
What is a tradition that your family can't do without? (And by family, I mean family of origin, family of adulthood, or that bunch of cool people that just feel like family.) Christmas Eve late service has been a centerpiece of Christmas for big parts of my life. I started going with mom with I was very small and my best memories are of that great over the top Catholic church completely bedecked in flowers, full of people in their finest clothes, the organ so loud the place would vibrate with sound....incense and processions of acolytes (though we called them altar boys) in red cassocks and lace cottas, priests in gold vestments....and then the silence....broken only by the bells to announce the consecration....and then singing again and again. Walking home in new snow. Opening one gift....traditionally the new jammies, having some cocoa and off to bed to wait for Santa. There were of course times I "skipped church" during those years when I thought I really could hide from God. But I am so grateful that before mom died, I was able to go to midnight Mass with her one last time and we were able to share that. At one point she turned to me with tears in her eyes and said, "I'm so happy I got to hear you sing in church again." Now of course it's at "my" church. Last year and this I'm the celebrant....and I know that mom will be there listening. So this is a once and now again tradition that I want never to lose.
Pastors and other church folk often have very strange traditions dictated by the "work" of the holidays. What happens at your place? This being "Christmas 2" post-ordination we are still working it out. One thing we learned last year....just because you can do it does not mean you should! We have three priests, it was Advent 4 on Christmas eve...so we had three services! That was silly, we were exhausted, and people were very spread out and confused. Down to two this year....five and eleven. I will be choir at the five and celebrate the 11. M will preach-Bless her! And at 6:30, between our two, Dear One and I will go to SD's church for her service.....just because I love her and some of her folks as well and want to celebrate with them, too. After late service, Dear One and I will open our gifts. I'm hoping there will be jammies. We will have cocoa and go to bed to wait for Santa. These are becoming our new traditions in this the second year of my ordained life.
If you could just ditch all the traditions and do something unexpected... what would it be? I don't think I would want to ditch the traditions....they are so much of Christmas joy to me. Changing them up a little evey year, that's all good, elements of surprise, keeping the joy and wonder...but ditching....nope....I'd rather KEEP the traditions and do something unexpected TOO in the tradition of the great both/and!