Several years ago we first volunteered to help serve Christmas dinner at our parish. This is a wonderful tradition that we had just discovered. Several hundred people – some homeless, some single, some elderly without family nearby, some simply wanting someone else to cook for them – come together for several hours of turkey, stuffing, pies, caroling, and conversation.
That first year, as we were leaving, one of the children said, “Can we make this a regular part of our Christmas Day tradition?” We’ve been there ever since.
Because Andrew and Claire were born five days before Christmas, we have always waited to jump into the season until after we celebrate their birthdays. Plus, Candice and I have always wanted to focus on Advent, and then celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas through until Epiphany on January 6th. But this year we’ve actually scaled back some of the past over-the-top holiday celebrations. Our decorations are simpler. We are content to be together as a family around a dinner table. (No cell phones, please.)
And just as the twins helped bring the Christmas dinner into our family celebration, they now help us choose one event for each of the 12 Days of Christmas. This year’s list includes a night of making pasta together. Two evenings at the theatre. Brunches and dinners with dear friends. Dim sum. A family hike. And a belated 24th birthday celebration, since Claire didn’t arrive home until Christmas Eve.
If you celebrate the season, dear readers, I hope you have a wonderful time filled with family and friends you love along with outreach to those who need our love.
More to come…
Image: Singing carols at the St. Alban’s Parish Christmas Day Dinner by Candice Brown