Currently Reading: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Happy Friday! I have wrapped the Christmas season tight around me lately and my soul is completely full. Right now, I am enjoying some "writing time" in my favorite coffee shop, surrounded by the Christmas spirit: Christmas carols on the radio, and the entire place draped in berries and lights and fake plastic pine. And this peppermint white chocolate mocha (I know.. be jealous, because it's amazing) is the perfect muse.
We spent Wednesday night putting up our tree and now it truly feels like Christmas at home. Our first Christmas in our own home... it's enough to make me tear up.
I know I'm not the only one, but when I anticipate Christmas, many of my thoughts creep back to childhood memories. Gazing into the flame of an Advent candle as "Heidchi Bumbeidchi" swells through the room instantly turns me into a child again, watching Oma light the Advent wreath. Certain songs or smells transport me to the Christmas where I got my dollhouse, the yearly tradition of decorating the tree with Mom, putting up Oma's Christmas Village. Memories that lie dormant all year long come into bright focus as December dawns: Giggling with my sister in my bed on Christmas Eve, sampling my mother's cookies, setting my St. Nikolaus boot on the windowsill, and waking up on the first day of Christmas break. What is it about Christmas that makes me not only remember past Christmases, but yearn for them?
One of my favorite things about Christmas is the dedication to tradition that we all, to some extent, participate in. We bake the same recipes we watched our mothers and grandmothers make, we watch the same beloved movies, and we strive to do everything the way it was last year and the year before. Tradition is cozy and safe, something that helps give our life meaning, and it holds particular importance with this most important and beautiful of holidays. My traditions connect me to my parents, my sister, my grandparents. It affirms who I am and what I believe in. And with each tradition I follow and each happy-cozy feeling that flutters in my soul, my faith and happiness and contentment with the world increases. My traditions are a way to declare my intense love for this holiday and my plan to celebrate it right.
Now I have the wonderful opportunity to introduce some of my traditions to Nathan, and partake in some of his, thereby creating our very own. I cannot wait to someday help shape my children's Christmas memories and give them, through our traditions and celebrations, the same sense of love and joy I get at Christmas-time.
In honor of my Christmas-induced mood, I'm posting a letter from the editor of the New York Sun in 1897 answering the query of a little girl named Virginia. This may not be a poem, but it is so beautiful and eloquent, it may as well be. The fat bearded man may not physically exist but everything he represents- love, childhood, faith, generosity does exist. It started with a baby in a manger over 2000 years ago, and continues in you and in me.