Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Christmas is such a time for remembering and practicing traditions. Families merge and begin new traditions, attempt to sustain old traditions, blend some, discard others. When the Kaidasz and Moody clans blended 17 years ago little did we know what our traditions would look like. I still don't know what they look like, they are a work in progress. But today, as I was looking at our Advent calendar waiting for days 16,17, and 18 to be opened, I pondered "What traditions are we currently practicing that will be passed on to Emma's, Ian's, Aidan's and Liam's merged families?"
While we were in Canada we attended an Anglican church. They, along with the graduate school Dave was attending, had a rich practice of remembering Advent. We embraced the practice and were determine to marry it into our lives in the U.S. It's been 7 years since we left Canada and we are struggling to light the candles every week. It's so hard to maintain a tradition you cherish when the community and culture around you does not practice the same.
My desire is/was to make Advent a preparation for the feast of Christmas. Our family decided to give small presents on St. Nicholas day (Dec 6) and Epiphany (Jan 6). We said, "NO PRESENTS ON CHRISTMAS!" We want that day to be the feast day remembering Emmanuel, God coming as a babe to be one of us. But, our families, the Moodys and Kaidaszs don't celebrate that way. So we have grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins expecting presents on Dec 25th and expecting us to open them. So we compromise. We open presents from other family members on Dec 25th (for the Kaidaszs) and on Dec 24th (for the Moodys). [Our kids get a lot of presents: Dec 6, Dec 24, Dec 25, and Jan 6.]
Now I wonder...will Emma's family celebrate St. Nicholas day as she did when she was 12 or will she compromise to her husband's family and celebrate it their way. When did traditions become so temporal, transforming with each generation and merging of new families? Have they ever been long-lasting, longer then a generation?
And Christmas is almost over, less than a week. The traditions I've desired to practice (so that the deeper, spiritual meaning of Christmas is in the forefront) have gotten lost in compromising with my culture and my laziness.
Perhaps thats the nature of being on this side of glory and recognizing that in Advent, preparing for the coming of the King, I am feeling more earnestly the desire for the King to return in full splendor and to rid myself of the worldly entrapments that weigh down the celebration of Emmanuel. So in my struggle to fully celebrate perhap sI am fully celebrating.