Last night Hubby and I had the wonderful opportunity, to go to a Christmas Celebration with a friend from work. She is from the Philippines and they have this special celebration Simbang Gabi. We attended the special Mass at her church, then afterward we went to the celebration. Lots of laughter, good food and entertainment. It was a Christmas party like I have never been to before. What fun it was.
While sitting there watching the dancers do the traditional dances of the country, I was thinking to myself, "what traditions do I have that are unique to where I come from?" My friend was explaining the traditions to me and at first I honestly couldn't think of a single tradition that was special. But I did come up with something.
Images of my childhood flashed in my mind. What fun times all the cousins had a my grandparents as children (at least from my prespective). There were 10 of us cousins, and every year we drew names for gifts at our annual Thanksgiving celebration. My sister and I went with our Mama shopping for the special gifts for the cousin whose name we had. Then Christmas would come.
Most Christmas eve's we spent at my maternal grandparents home. Hanging the stockings on the fireplace mantel (actually Papaw's socks) and listening to her neighbors as they had a "grown up only" party popping firecrackers outside. We always begged to go, but we had to go to bed, after all "Santa was coming"! I would have butterflies in my tummy, just thinking about it. Oh the wondrous joy of Santa Claus. Then of course bright and early we would wake up and see all the magic under the tree.
Some Christmas eve's we did go to my grandma's church and sing carols. It was always such a magical festive time. Then after we opened all our gifts at that grandparents house we loaded up in the car and off to "Nannie and Bobo's" we would go. The cousins were waiting. The excitement and fun still to come. We arrived and all piled out of the car, we had wonderful grandma and aunt's cooking. I remember Rice & gravy, fried chicken, ham, turkey, cream corn, pecan pie....the list goes on, but afterwards, after all the eating we would all gather in the living room and sit in a big circle. One of us (I can't even remember who) played "Santa" and passed out all the gifts.
My grandaddy was a minister (we called him Bobo) and he would read us the Christmas story from the book of Luke. I can remember sitting there on the floor, listening to his sweet voice, as he read to us. I would envision the Donkey, the Angel's, and shepherds. But I must admit, at least as a child, waiting to open my gift. Not fully comprehending the true impact of that one precious night when Jesus was born. When I got older, I would tear up sometimes as Bobo read the story. Oh how I treasure these memories, and I wish I could be back just one more time.
Me & my Bobo
But now, as an adult, I realize that I need to pass these memories and traditions on to our children. My step-children and my nieces. My Daddy continued reading us the story after my Bobo passed away, but now Daddy has passed away as well. So the tradition has been lost in the tearing and grabbing of Christmas, with no one to read to us that wonderful story of that precious night. This year, I am going to encourage Hubby to read to us all before the craziness of the gifts erupts. We need to be remember what Christmas is truly about and I want the tradition of telling the story to live on.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and remember that Jesus is the true reason that we celebrate this wondrous season.