It is December. The wind is chilling and the leaves are definitely past peak – if not already fallen, raked, and bagged. There is the slightest chance of snow flurries here in Birmingham tonight which means two things: 1) there will be no bread or milk left on the shelves of the grocery store and 2) it will not, in fact, even flurry and it certainly will not stick if it does.
December’s arrival for me also means the observance of many traditions. Here are a few of my favorites:
Family Tree Trimming
There is no designated date or time for this event. It takes place when we can all manage to be in the same place at the same time – and we have miraculously managed to make that happen! Our meal is usually an excellent homemade beef stew. Our soundtrack is a mix of our favorite Christmas tunes. And our memories are triggered by the hanging of the ornaments that carry the sentiments of our years.
Here we go a wassailing…
At some point during the tree trimming, we break for wassail and the comfort it brings. Our family recipe for wassail cannot be fully disclosed, but I will at least list all the ingredients for you: apple cider, orange juice, cloves and cinnamon. Mixed together it just equals good, and is best served in a Christmas mug. For those of you that do not know the full history of wassail and wassailing, join the club. We had to look it up this year. The Oxford English Dictionary provides a reliable definition and history. While there is no ale, etc. in our wassail, we did feel the need to make a toast after reading the history. Good health to you all!
Christmas Services & Performances
Long gone are the days when our involvement in choir and dance and other activities meant many rehearsals, late nights, costumes, and more. I occasionally miss the craziness, but I have kept my hand in just enough that it is still a part of the holiday season for me. You may want to make these a new tradition for you!
Here is my favorite piece from recent years. For more videos, click here.
Behold the Lamb of God
A Concert by Andrew Peterson and Friends
Oak Mountain Church
Monday, December 14th, 2009
General Admission Tickets are $10. Click here to purchase.
For tour dates in other cities, visit the website.
(This has been one of my favorites for the past several years, in part, because I am not dancing or working behind the scenes. But, mostly, I love the fact that it is completely focused on the real reason for the season we celebrate.)
Here is a little taste:
Observing the season of Advent
What does the first candle stand for?
The first candle is the candle of faith.
These were the first words spoken as my family gathered around the advent wreath to light a candle, study the Bible, and pray. So much of this season is about anticipation; this is evident even in the non-sacred elements that are a part of our culture. And the time we spent each year encircling the advent wreath kept us focused on the One worthy of all that anticipation, the Savior of the world wrapped in swaddling clothes. He is the One born to die. The One who in dying would defeat death! Joy to the World!
So this December, I encourage you to enjoy your family and friends, opt for wassail ingredients at the store, and bask in the anticipation of Jesus Christ.