When Bear and I were raising our man-cubs, we marked our seasons with a scrapbook of traditions.
These traditions were created or adapted to fit our Christian faith, our beliefs and the history of our family. There was comfort in the structure. However, as grandparents aged, children grew then moved away, and work schedules changed, those traditions began to unravel…
Today what remains is fragmented and honestly, far less complicated.
Today we snatch and hoard moments of time with loved ones and those moments are not tied to a date on a calendar. Windows of time have become our tradition…or rather our “nontradition” because how we spend the time can change with each new season…weekends at the beach, time in a cabin in the mountains, a Broadway musical, a women’s retreat, concerts, etc…
The only tradition we currently observe is that we “traditionally” change our traditions to meet the needs for that season. Therefore, I guess they are not traditions…really.
The gifts are fewer because we have everything we need. Holiday meals are simpler, and they are based on the individual favorites of those gathering with us. A Crock pot of baked potato soup, grilled steaks, buffalo chicken dip, or late night breakfast casseroles…Food and family time are shared in a variety of ways.
More importantly than the traditions and the food, our focus has become Father and family.
During advent we preparing for Christ’s birth and Lent leads us to Resurrection Day, we pull in and regroup. We spend more time preparing our hearts and minds than we do decorating or shopping or cooking. Serving others takes precedent.
Cooking…eh…not so much anymore…
I opt out of ridiculously long cooking events and laborious hours of washing fine china. Simple fare on festive disposable tableware…satisfying and comforting…I am deliberately choosing a “Mary-at the feet of Jesus” position over that of “Martha- overdoing it in the kitchen” during these seasons (Luke 10:39-42).
I applaud others who enjoy elaborate holiday preparation. High fives all around! Truly! So many of my friends are fabulous with holiday details and extreme food preparation, but it’s just not me… anymore. Again, I would rather be a Mary…in the living room taking in the moments and watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Elf…with my family. I am passing on the physical exhaustion and the frustration that follows when things do not meet with my expectations.
This year, I will spend a large part of Thanksgiving Day in the hospital with my sweet momma, a.k.a. the Bionic Woman, as she recuperates from knee replacement surgery. Uninterrupted time with my 73 year old momma means more to me than a huge Thanksgiving meal or being among the masses for the Black Friday sales.