Somewhere in the early 1990s, my family stopped worrying about putting up a Christmas tree and decorating it, and all the other outwardly visible signs of the season. I’m okay with that; I’m sure I’d put up a tree if I were married, but I’m single, and I’m okay with no tree today.
As an Air Force family, we don’t do the same thing each year—mainly because we were always far from Dixie, which my grandparents call home. Some years would be spent in Guin; some in Laurel. We usually alternated Thanksgiving and Christmas with each set. Even that alternation ended up falling apart at some point, and I went three or four years without seeing Dad’s family at Christmas [until last year]. The only way I’m going to see any of them this year is to wake up on Christmas morning and drive from my maternal grandmother’s house to my paternal grandmother’s house.
Instead, I seem to have developed some traditions of my own; one has become the yearly pilgrimage to Nashville for Andrew Peterson‘s Christmas show. Three years ago, it was all an excuse to dip my toe into the Rumor Forum waters a bit more; having met Sarah, Ben Murphy came to Huntsville, and together we went up to Nashville, where I first met Trey in person. It was a great time, and I’ve made my way back to AP’s show four years running. [Andy Osenga is mad at me, because he realized that I have now been more times than he has … and he’s a part of the band!]
After the final chorus of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” finished ringing through the Ryman Auditorium, I opened my eyes as I have the two years previous, sighed, and said, “Well, Christmas can come now.” Hearing a great retelling of the true myth of Christ’s entry into this world just lifts up my spirit.
I am hoping to ensconce myself into Madison UMC’s Christmas tradition in a similar manner this year by singing in Sunday’s cantata. It’s been a time commitment I didn’t anticipate at first, but I’ve been blessed by it.
How have your Christmas traditions evolved over the years?