Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Meaningful Christmas Eve Traditions

Milk and cookies for Santa seems so magical and anticipatory.  I just have a hard time reinforcing something that isn't real.

I was so excited when I stumbled across some old Irish Christmas traditions in a book I was reading recently. 

From what I can find, I'm intrigued by these three parts to the old traditions.  On Christmas Eve night,

A candle was left lit in the window to welcome weary travelers, like Mary and Joseph. 

The door was left unlocked for weary travelers to find shelter, just as Mary and Joseph found shelter in the stable. 

A meal or a plate of bread was left on the table for the travelers to find sustenance in their time of need. 

I'm loving the focus of these traditions. 

The candle reminds me of the verse that tells us to entertain strangers, as we might just entertain an angel sometime.  (Hebrews 13:2)  It also points back to the Christmas story, helping our children to think of the situation Mary and Joseph found themselves in.  It was hardly ideal and surely stressful.  What if the innkeeper hadn't even let them use his stable?

The unlocked door demonstrates another aspect of hospitality.  I plan on reminding the Blossoms that whatever we've done to the least of them, we've done to Jesus.  Let's welcome folks with open hearts and homes.

I plan on letting the girlies decide what to leave out on the Christmas plate.  We'll talk about leaving out protein, so our travelers feel full.  We'll talk about leaving a treat, that someone on the street might not have often.  Perhaps we'll put out milk for its nourishing qualities.  It's not that I'm on a soapbox for protein; I just want them to turn their thoughts to others, to see the symbolism of how we might treat others in the way God would want.  I want them to think of how Mary and Joseph would've liked to be treated long ago. 

I want the whole conversation to turn their thoughts again to that beautiful story, the tapestry that Father God wrought for us to discover the Savior that came that night so long ago. 

The anticipation was building as I set up the photo shoot for this post.  I'm glad.  Just because you don't believe in Santa doesn't mean you can't have magical traditions.  In fact, as I'm finding, some of the most beautiful, symbolic traditions are found in the Bible and "old time religion."  (Check out the Passover feast if you want to see the very traditions God set up for the Jews... but that's another conversation, for another time.)  We've just forgotten the glorious traditions amidst the Santa stuff.

Merry Christmas, friends,