An unintentional Christmas tradition
by Monica Taylor
I really do love Christmas! As I grow older, I appreciate so much more so many of the things that I have taken for granted all these years. I look at my dear husband and realize that he has played a huge part over the past 20+ years in making some wonderful Christmas memories both with and for me. He has helped make many wonderful memories that I will treasure always!
Before I get sentimental, I will admit we had started a Christmas tradition that I had not realized impacted anyone but the two of us. For at least the last 15-20 years, Tim and I celebrated Christmas with Tim’s son Patrick on Christmas Eve at our house. We would invite all the Tim’s family including Grandma and Grandpa to eat Christmas dinner at our house, and then we would all head to church for evening service. Many times it was the midnight service we would choose to attend which made for a rather long evening, but no matter, it was great fun.
However, this year when I hosted Thanksgiving dinner with Tim’s family, we announced that we would not be having Christmas Eve dinner at our house. I had figured no one would even care about this change. They wouldn’t even miss it. After all, the season is so busy and everyone has so much to do. It seemed that it would just allow more time for everyone to spend with their own families. Unfortunately, I was very wrong.
Immediately, two of Tim’s nephews said in unison: “Does that mean we won’t be going to church together on Christmas Eve? But, it’s a tradition. We have to go together to church.”
Oops! I guess I hadn’t realized that we had started a tradition all those years ago, and it was just too hard for the nephews to consider letting go of it. You see, Tim’s sister has been a widow for about two years. She now has managed to raise twin 18-year-old boys and their 15-year-old brother by herself. She does this on a kindergarten teacher’s salary. I am in awe of her strength and resilience. And here was I, the Christmas Grinch, messing with something that brought them joy and wove those family ties even tighter. I felt like Scrooge.
Of course, I immediately recanted and asked if we could consider grabbing dinner out (relieving me of cooking duty) and then going to church together. The boys’ faces lit up and I had averted a very real disaster. So for Christmas 2011 we still carried on our Christmas Eve service tradition with Grandma, my sister-in-law and her boys, and Tim, Patrick and me. I guess sometimes traditions are born when you really didn’t intend to start one.by