• Sharon Shirk

Christmas Reflections

Several days after Christmas, snow is coming down here in Lancaster County. We always hope for snow to arrive with Christmas …Christmas seems more magical when it comes with snow, maybe because childhood memories (at least sometimes) included snow on this night when other good things also came with it.

And in this dark time of year, I add lights to our windows and other extra lighting while we miss the sun that doesn’t shine long on these early winter days. The extra lights can be reminders as well of a time when the first announcement was made to the world, as shepherds looked up and saw THE bright light (the Glory of the Lord) when the baby (King Jesus) was quietly born in a stable. That is what we celebrate.

Well Christmas came again to our house this year. We celebrated on Christmas Day. Our children came and we had a turkey dinner, with mashed potatoes and gravy and salads and rolls, complete with dessert and ice cream. Each of the ladies in our family brings something to add to dinner, making the work of getting together much easier. And there were gifts. Stories were shared and laughter and lighthearted teasing and the hub-bub of family! It’s not exactly the same each year but each year is enough the same that we’ve come to know and expect the traditional food and comraderie.

We were thinking about tradition this year…What is meaningful and special about Christmas and how we celebrate it? And what makes it memorable and something that we want to do again each year? The song ” I’ll be home for Christmas” is pretty much saying, even If I couldn’t make it home, my heart will be there either way.

Our Nativity scene

First of all…we feel that family is very important. Even children need extended family (we all do) uncles and aunts and cousins and grandparents coming together as a group. I remember getting together with family as a young person and feeling like I understood myself better when the day was over. And also this was where I had a place and I belonged.

Expectations are part of what makes family time good every year. The usual sights and sounds of family become FAMILIAR and INVITING! We come to know what to expect from each other. Even at the leval of who will have stories to tell and who will tell the funniest, driest jokes. And who enjoys gag gifts! And who will sleep longest after lunch. And who suggests singing together and reading the Christmas story. And who wants to play games and who would rather watch a meaningful Christmas movie or go for a walk in the afternoon! Because it’s so familiar, it becomes US and makes us who we are.

Heather and baby Anna Scout

We have a very interesting ( I will use another post on another day to say more about that) family from the smallest to the oldest. Some are mechanics, we have a bank person/student nurse/new Mom, a backyard sheds builder turned social worker, a home-maker/ decorator, a marketing person, a hair stylist/server, painters/builders, math teacher turned full time Mom, office/property manager, students, girlfriend/boyfriends and growing babys. No wonder that there is a lot to set aside for a Family day. And a lot to talk about and share when we do get-together.

And with so much to do around here besides celebrating with family on Christmas..

Shows and Programs and Shopping Centers and Christmas Partys, and Christmas Carol Sings, and Plays and Nativity Walk-Throughs, and light displays. We participated in lots of these Christmas offerings and loved doing them. But my favorite things are still what we do together as a family that makes it ” the most wonderful time of the year.”

Being a family is still the BEST and most MEANINGFUL, TRADITIONAL, BELONGINGEST, most FAMILIAR experience there is. Even for us…and our unusual family that I will write more about later.

To ALL a Happy New Year!

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