When the children were children and we lived in Leetonia our Family had very specific traditions that we followed without fail every Christmas season. Although traditions, and following them, are not the reason for the season, they do glue it all together and add to the anticipation of the season.
But life brings changes. We managed to maintain our traditions with slight adjustments as first we started pastoring 45 minutes from home. With the Church responsibilities only a few adjustments where needed. We barely noticed. The children started graduating from high school, a few more adjustments. We moved to Warren, a few more. Nothing major, the large ceramic tree--a gift from new friends when we moved to Leetonia--still came out the day after Thanksgiving. Cookie making began full force, lots of good eating, parties and gifting from our baking fun.
St Lucia day was never missed. December 13th was a very special, busy day at the Shirey's.
But then more changes, Dwight in a wheelchair. The year that happened our traditions fell by the wayside. The next Christmas, 2003, we were back in Leetonia with a For Sale sign in our front yard. We were able to regain some of our traditions, altho alot of things were packed in boxes awaiting our move to a yet unpurchased home in Columbus.
But Christmas 2004 found us nicely settled in a cute Cape Cod home and traditions all in place. And our number of grandchildren grew from one when we moved here to 5 by our second anniversary in our new home.
We have had wonderful Christmas times with our laughing, loving family. And our traditions continued intact with slight adjustments.
Till this year. My dear husband began showing signs of something being off kilter about the same time Esther Faith entered Children's Hospital for a 21 day stay. Dwight's problem was not properly diagnosed and he hasn't been home since Easter.
Traditions almost completely fell apart. None of us celebrated St Lucia day. I didn't bake a single cookie. Because now 2 of the grandchildren live here my daughter gently encouraged me to decorate. Once I got going I regained some Christmas spirit. I even made new window valances and fleece throws to coordinate so the living room is festive.
But Christmas Eve, our traditional gift opening time was very different. Dwight is still in a nursing home. All week he had been very down, so down he wasn't sure he wanted to see anyone. But we prayed and prevailed. I took in one gift for each person to open from Papa and Mimi. We laughed, smiled,hugged and loved, pretending this was normal. Dwight read the Christmas story with his usual dramatic flair from his new Kindle. We had family prayer and opened our gifts. Excitement filled the room as all grandkids and children loved their gifts. Our son missed all the fun, work kept him late and he didn't get to Columbus until we were eating at Karin and Tim's. We did make him open his gift from Mom and Dad there---a Michigan blanket, he loved the blanket and all the ribbing he got from his OSU loving family.
Tradition--changed, family love--the same.