Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)
TITLE: Our Family Tradition
By Mildred Sheldon
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I was standing in the kitchen looking out the window when Billy my 9-year-old burst into the kitchen hollering at the top of his lungs so excited and jumping around like a jumping jack. It was early the day after Halloween when Billy grabbed me around the waist. “Mom, when will we be going to grandma and grandpa’s house to help decorate for Christmas?”
The closer it got to Christmas our children became more and more excited. If Billy didn’t ask when it was time to decorate grandma and grandpa’s house one of the other two did. My brothers and sisters were going through the same thing with their younger children.
The first week of November came and the older children incited the younger children into asking their parents just when we were going to grandma and grandpa’s house.
I chuckled to myself as I thought about the family tradition of gathering at Mom and Dad’s house to decorate the tree and prepare for the advent season. The family gathered at mom and dad’s house more during the holiday season and the children looked forward to those special days. The tradition started many years ago when our great, great, great grandparents had built the family home. The house grew bigger and bigger with the birth of each child and it was oldest child that inherited the family place when their parents had passed away.
About a week before Thanksgiving, all of my brothers and sisters would gather at Mom and Dad’s big house with all of the grandkids in tow. The men would go out and find just the right tree to sit in the big family room and the women would get all the boxes with the decorations down from the attic. Grandma would take all the kids into the big kitchen where she had all kinds of beads, strings, ribbons, miniature crowns of thorns, little crosses and anything she could think of so the kids could create their own Christmas ornament for the family tree. That was also part of our family tradition. The children made their own ornaments and each would hang them on the tree.
Before Advent began, my sisters and sister-in-laws would get together and decide what each of us would bring to mom and dads house for dinner on the first Sunday of Advent. After dinner, we would all gather in the big family room where the oldest grandchild would light the first candle, the candle of Prophecy/Hope and grandma read Isaiah 60:1-3 and Matthew 24:44 from the old family bible.
The following weeks the next oldest grandchild would light the next candle, the Candle of the Way then the Candle of Joy followed by the Candle of Peace and grandma would read the appropriate verses for each candle.
On Christmas Day, the children were up with the chickens. They were so excited that it was almost impossible keeping any semblance of sanity in the house. They gulped down their breakfasts, ran to the Christmas tree before we even had time to drink our first cup of coffee. They gathered around the tree waiting for their slow moving parents to make their entrance. They quickly ripped open their gifts, inspected each one, and put them down waiting for us to open our gifts at which time they all asked when we were going to grandma and grandpa’s house. We told them we would go over to grandma and grandpa’s house later that afternoon at which all the children let out a collective sigh of disappointment. They would sit down look at each others gifts play with their favorite gift and before the children realized it was time to go.
After dinner, the children helped clear the big kitchen table and the women washed, dried and put away the dishes. Then grandma and grandpa would light the last and final candle the most important candle of all. The Christ Candle or Christmas Candle as it is called. When the last candle was lighted grandpa, would take the old family bible and read Isaiah 9:2-7 followed by Luke 2:11. After which both would read the blessing from II Peter 1:2.
Each new generation loved our family’s tradition and each year it was carried on and on into another year and the old homestead and family bible was passed from one generation to the next and it still stand to this day.
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