Shortly before Christmas began, someone in a Facebook group posed the question: What are your special Christmas Eve traditions? I paused, looked at the screen blankly, and then it hit me:
I love traditions-I love the comfort they bring, the way they can warm my heart, and the security that traditions provide. Many times in my life, I've felt a bit like Tevye, from Fiddler on the Roof.
When I first got married almost 2 1/1 years ago, I had this idea that we would need to start a bunch of traditions at the beginning of our marriage, that would continue to be practiced and built upon for the duration of our lives. After all, I occasionally meet couples or families who do certain things around the holidays that they have always done-so why shouldn't we?
I soon came to realize (in the midst of some difficulty) that I should not live by this idea. Instead of holding onto one particular course of action for every holiday every year, I have found that flexibility works out much, much better. Each family's circumstances can change slightly from year to year, so I think it is appropriate to have some flexibility in how the holidays are celebrated. In three Christmas celebrations as a married couple, my husband and I have done three completely different things. Next year will probably be completely different, as well as the year after that, and the year after that. Circumstances change, life moves on, and I find that flexibility helps me to enjoy it all immensely, instead of moping around with a cry of "But we always have to do such-and-such on Christmas Eve!"
For example, I love Christmas Eve Midnight Mass, even though I've only been a handful of times in my life. A couple years ago-before I married-I went to an Extraordinary Form Midnight Mass, which was one of the most epic things ever. Last year, we were able to attend a Midnight Mass. This year, it just didn't happen, especially since Baby makes it harder for me to stay up past 12 or 12:30. And I am okay with that. Maybe Midnight Mass will wind up being a tradition for us someday, or maybe not. We still get to celebrate the beginning of Christmas each year with Mass and prayer together. We still get to celebrate the full Christmas season together by doing things in our own home, like putting Baby Jesus in the Nativity and moving the wise men closer to it as the Epiphany draws near.
I find it incredibly ironic that I wrote on Facebook about flexibility shortly before this Christmas-for this year, flexibility has definitely come into play! Christmas celebrations began off in quite a normal manner. We started off Christmas Eve by hanging out with my family in Wichita. It was totally awesome; full of their Christmas Eve lasagna (none of us our Italian, but for some reason, Christmas Eve lasagna has been a thing for years), board games, video games, praying at the family Nativity scene (where Jacob and I placed Baby Jesus in the manger! Okay, actually, I put Jesus in the manger, he randomly put a camel in the stable...), and kicking of the procession of presents and present-opening. Christmas day was super chill, with more games, presents, Mass, phoning relatives, and relaxing. Saturday involved hanging out with a good friend of mine, spending some writing time in a coffee shop, and a family outing to watch The Force Awakens (I like it even more the second time around!). Sunday included Mass, a party, and the drive back to Oklahoma, with my older brother in tow, so that we could take him to the airport the next morning.
On Monday night, we drove back to the airport to get my dear brother who had been stuck there for fifteen hours while his airline figured out delays and re-booked his flight! Yikes! My brother now found himself on an impromptu vacation in Oklahoma City, since the soonest flight they could send him out was three days later. I feel bad that his life was completely rearranged this week, but he's been pretty flexible about stuff. Nothing he could have done would change the weather and get him on a flight earlier, so my brother has been rolling with it quite well. Even though he had not planned on missing work this week, he has accepted the change in circumstances and has been having fun with us in our home. Flexibility has allowed us to not stress about what-could-have-been, and instead to find joy in the present moment.
I also found peace in flexibility regarding Christmas lights. I love going to Christmas light displays during the Christmas season each year. This year, I really wanted to attend a display in Yukon, since it sounded pretty awesome on the internet's description. Well, this is Oklahoma. We don't get snow; we get ice storms that knock out the power (thankfully, we have our power this week, but others are not so fortunate). While Christmas lights displays are pretty insignificant compared to people not having power, I thought I would check to see if the display was open, anyway. A couple of phone calls to the City Hall yesterday confirmed that the display is now closed for the season. Thus, we went to another local display, which-while probably was not as cool-was still fun. Followed by an impromptu trip to Vintage Stock (one of our favorite stores here), it was a pretty splendid evening!
|I discovered that this bathrobe|
looks great over all of my Christmas
dresses, and I basically lived in it all