My Dad’s birthday is on Christmas Eve. So all my life on Christmas Eve we have had a birthday dinner including birthday cake celebrating my Dad’s birthday. After his birthday gifts were opened we would transition to the living room for Christmas. For the past 30 years my Dad has read a gospel of the nativity from the Bible to my family then someone would place baby Jesus in the nativity scene you see on the table next to my Dad. Now that he has grandchildren the tradition has continued. They sit and listen to the gospel reading about the birth of Christ all focused on Grandpa’s voice. It is precious to witness my children be a part of the traditions I was raised with as a child.
I asked my parents this past Christmas if their parents read from the Bible Christmas eve, not something Catholics usually did. Both said no, they started the tradition to transition from Dad’s birthday to the birthday of Jesus. As a child I loved hearing that story about Mary and Joseph, their journey and there being no room for them in the inn. I always thought, don’t they know that it is God they are turning away from their inn? I embrace all the traditions from childhood and have created new traditions for my children.
Traditions are ways for us to remember and preserve our family’s beliefs or gatherings. What traditions do you have for Christmas Eve? Don’t you just love that you can depend on them? Traditions help to give us that place that we know we will be in the future because we have felt so secure there in the past. There is a lot to be said for spontaneity but there is so much we can learn from traditions.