Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Christmas – Again

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Today is January 7th and in a significant portion of the Orthodox Christian world today is Christmas.  I was raised in the Russian Orthodox church tradition and until I was married I always celebrated today as the real Christmas.  The food was special, the family gathered, we spent the morning in church and the afternoon with family.  As a child I was expecially thrilled because it meant celebrating two christmases… which we referred to as American Christmas and Russian Christmas.   After December 25th we always benefitted by the big clearance sales, got the best decorations and presents for Russian Christmas.

These days the old Russian family is all gone to heaven.  The memories of the smells and sounds still live somewhere in my memory of childhood, and occassionally in my kitchen when I pull out the recipes and make them.  Glazed baked ham, and lovely cheesy mashed potaties, beet salad, and christmas cookies like poppyseed filed kolachky…. It was a celebration of the senses…. not only the tummy, but the hugs, the kisses, the greetings, the conversation all steeped with a big healthy serving of love.  And the details Mom put into everything was just another reminder that this was a celebration, and she really loved us by pulling out the good china and the prettiest dishes to display everything.  It really was wonderful.  And we really loved everything too. 

While I hold today in my heart as Christmas  it has been years since I really celebrated this day as Christmas.  But quietly, obstinantly I refuse to take down my decorations until after today has passed.  And on Christmas (or any other holiday) I take exceptional joy in following the tradition of putting my utmost detail into everything.  In that small way Russian Christmas lives on. 

So drive by my house today and the christmas tree is lit, the carols are playing and I am celebrating the birth of my savior, again. 

Lord, thank you for giving us family, and tradition, and memories.  Thank you for a childhood filled with love and kind parents who gave me so much.  Thank you that my parents poured their lives into me, and prepared me well.  And thank you for the give of ethnicity.  It is a source of joy and pride to know that there is a heritage, a legacy that I can carry onward.  Take my memories of Russian Christmas, and of family, and turn them into sweet memories.  And thank you for the grace to accept the changes that have come in my life.  Amen.

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Written by Barbara Bloom

January 7, 2009 at 7:07 PM

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