Bending tradition for a constant reminder…

Twenty years ago today, our youngest made a simple, prolific statement that forever changed my life.  St. Michael, my extraordinary husband, wrote about it in a magazine article we continue to display in our home.  Please allow me to elaborate a bit…

It was a frosty winter’s morn in the bleak midwinter and our single task for the day was to disassemble Christmas in our home.  From the handmade garlands, ornaments, and other decorations to the artificial pine boughs of the 8-ft. tree, everything was deconstructed and carefully placed into boxes for storing in the attic.  Not exactly understanding why this was critical on January 7th (the day after Epiphany), our youngest asked “Why are we doing this again?”  My dad quickly replied, “So it is out of the way until the Christmas season rolls around once again.”

This particular year, we had three Creche or Nativity scenes on display–one made of ceramic pieces simply displayed on the fireplace mantle, a wooden set made for our oldest daughter by a dear family friend, and a soft-sculptured fabric set both girls played with on the hearth everyday (their re-enactments were legendary).  Our oldest packed up the wooden set while our youngest gathered all the players and animals to the soft set.  I started carefully wrapping each piece of the ceramic set in tissue paper.  She stopped to watch and then asked, “So, are we putting Jesus away in the box until next Christmas too?”  Stunned silence ensued…

img_3570It’s been our custom now for 20 years to leave Jesus and the Creche on the mantle throughout the year.  While the Angel’s wing is a little chipped and one Wise Man (traveling from afar) is missing his gift of myrrh, each piece is proudly displayed to remind us daily how a little child came into our hearts sharing hope, peace, JOY, profound grace, and unconditional love…

In 1872, one my favorite poets, Christina Rossetti, penned this familiar verse: What can I give him, poor as I am?  If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb. If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; yet what I can I give him: give my heart.

May a special tradition in your life touch your heart and become a constant reminder of what you hold dear throughout the year.

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