Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas is such a memory filled time for me! I remember singing carols in the car with my parents and grandparents - and for some reason we were always going somewhere through the cold dark winter evenings. To visit friends, to have cookies and hot chocolate, to share presents, to watch the "living nativity" scene at the church, to see the houses all decorated with lights. Do you know the Jolly Old St. Nicholas tune?

Jolly Old St. Nicholas lean your ear this way!
Don't you tell a single soul what I'm going to say:
Christmas Eve is coming soon; Now, you dear old man
Whisper what you'll bring to me; Tell me if you can.

When the clock is striking twelve, When I'm fast asleep
Down the chimney, broad and black, With your pack you'll creep
All the stockings you will find Hanging in a row
Mine will be the shortest one, You'll be sure to know

Bobby wants a pair of skates, Suzy wants a sled
Nellie wants a picture book, Yellow, blue, and red
Now I think I'll leave to you What to give the rest
Choose for me, dear Santa Claus; You will know the best.

Oh, my grandmother always emphasized those last two lines - and oh, how that made me want to be just like the singer of the tune. Trusting in Santa, never asking for what I really wanted. I thought that the only way to be truly good and sweet was to never ask for anything. Of course, I was only little and bound to disappoint, and my Christmas Lists were always long letters filled with dreamy big toys that I mostly didn't get - but I learned that it was ok to dream big, and that giving is honestly as wonderful as getting - many times even more wonderful.

So here as we start the second week of Advent I find that I appreciate more and more the gift of family time and the great tradition of giving that we are fortunate to share. Today, at our house, we celebrate St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) with little gifts. We plan to talk about how St. Nicholas lived a tradition of giving, and that he gave in secret. When the kids were little we chose names and then did secret things for each other all through the month, to teach our littlest ones the joy of simple gifts and simple giving.

Joy in giving and graciousness in receiving are two of the wonderful things we experience all through our lives, but these seem to have more focus during the holidays. I rejoice in these gifts whenever they occur, but like many of us, I absolutely love the opportunity to renew family traditions and spend time with loved ones.

I wish you all joy in your family and personal traditions, and pray for peace and joy in all the world this holiday season.


Tabor said...

Sounds like you are already off to a lovely season.

Anonymous said...

I love Jolly old St Nicholas. The photo is nice too.

Kay Dennison said...

What a great tradition!!!!


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