Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian
I have been thinking about traditions this week. Christmas is almost here and this time of year, more than any other, is filled with traditions.
We have a Christmas tradition of new ornaments for the tree. Each of us gets a new ornament that is added to our eclectic tree. When the boys leave home, they will take their box of ornaments with them. When The Artist leaves, I will need to find a dinosaur ornament to represent him because he will take the 12 dinosaur ornaments we have.
We have a Christmas tradition of reading Christmas stories together on Christmas Eve, always ending with the account of Christ's birth in Luke 2. Finding that perfect story to share is something I look forward to doing each year.
We have a Christmas tradition of driving around and looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve before reading stories. This began with The Boy and we have continued it each year.
We have a Christmas tradition where Santa leaves the stockings at the end of each person's bed. And we have a tradition that if you don't believe, you don't receive, because Santa represents everything that is good and wonderful about Christmas and giving to others.
Last year we saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Christmas Eve afternoon. Mostly because it was the only time we could see it all together, but I think seeing a movie together on Christmas Eve afternoon might become a new tradition because we enjoyed it so much. In fact, this Christmas Eve we will see Rogue One.
We have always carried over my family's Christmas tradition of a simple dinner of soup and bread on Christmas Eve to symbolize the humble circumstances into which the Savior was born. Then, we would have our big dinner Christmas day.
This year, my husband has been following a keto or low carb, high protein/high fat diet and has lost nearly 100 lbs in 8 months. I am learning a new way of cooking for him. But, this way of eating has made it challenging for me to find a keto-friendly soup that all of us will enjoy and that we could serve on Christmas Eve.
The Doctor asked me why the meal is so important and I really didn't have a ready answer for him. But, in true Holly fashion, I have pondered the reason a great deal.
Sharing a meal and sitting around a table, whether it be formal or informal is something that bonds people together. We share, we talk, we connect. Sharing meals brings people together in a way that nothing else can. And when we share a meal together at Christmas with the memories that take us back to past Christmases, our hearts and thoughts coalesce and we feel a link to each other, past and present. For me, as I sit around our candlelit Christmas Eve table, I think back to sharing meals with my father, who has been gone for 14 years now. If we have Christmas Eve dinner at my mom's home, she will make homemade chicken noodle soup, complete with homemade noodles and the memories of Christmas with my dad are even stronger.
Traditions unite us. Memories are important. But as I have pondered my frustrations over what to prepare for Christmas Eve dinner this year, I have realized that what is most important to me is being together. Sitting around that table with my husband and sons and anyone else who has joined us. Even if the meal isn't the same, the tradition of sharing a meal together is. Those memories are still there and new ones will join them.
So in the tradition of doing new things, we will still have our candlelight Christmas Eve dinner, but it will likely be snow-grilled chicken with stir-fried broccoli and salad. Maybe some brownies the boys and I can eat for dessert. And we will talk and share and laugh. And like our new tradition of seeing a movie, we can start a new tradition of what we serve for dinner. And, afterwards, we will drive around, looking at Christmas lights before we come home and gather around the fireplace together to read Christmas stories and reflect on the gift of our Savior's birth. We will be together. Remembering past Christmases and people we love and making new memories to reflect on in the future.
From our home to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. May your holiday season be warm and filled with tradition and memory and love.