A Disappointing Christmas
Christmas was a touch rough for us Days, at least one of us was sick for the entire holiday and then some. I had grand ideas of starting new traditions this year and then sharing those perfectly documented traditions with you all here. Needless to say, plans were postponed, delayed and even kiboshed and I must admit, I felt a definite pall fall over the season as each day drifted by like a fog. My disappointment could not be denied. I find it interesting that it is often this time of year when we hope for so much that we are often disappointed, one way or another.
But it has struck me that this is exactly why I must be intentional in my plans for celebration, deliberate in my thought and speech, to declare that which I am really hoping for. I have had my eyes fixed on the vision that was revealed to John in Revelation 21 & 22 for much of 2013 and every signpost I come across in scripture that points towards it just screams out at me. This is what I wanted to remember this December, to pass on to my children in a tangible way. I’m not sure what would jump out to someone who has never read this passage before but for me, and I believe for many others who are acquainted with the Judeo-Christian story, the note that keeps being sounded is the number twelve. A pretty potent number considering all that it represents. Perfection, to be put simply. These chapters are dripping with it. Perfection upon perfection upon perfection. With every day that goes by and everything that is wrong with the world weighs upon my heart and mind, this is the hope I hold on to. A world put to rights, ruled perfectly by a perfect King. I will always be disappointed in this world as it is, the way it currently stands. But that won’t be how it will always be and so todays disappointments don’t really matter that much after all. No, instead todays disappointments are only the fires that are set to purify us and make us stronger for that coming day. And we are to watch for it. Expectantly. (Rev 16.15, Matt 25)
So there were two new traditions we adopted this year and even though they were not executed to perfection I think we’ll hold on to them anyway. The first was the making of challah bread. I love baking bread and braided challah bread is very easy on the eyes and a real treat to eat. The idea to do this actually came from a project Wyatt had to do for school where he did a presentation on holiday symbols and I grabbed on to it with vigour. I braided three strands (three is also powerfully symbolic, also represents truth, peace & justice), into 12 braided sections, one smaller loaf set on top of a larger one (24 anyone?). We sprinkled poppy & sesame seeds on top to represent the manna falling from heaven. Sorry, I did not photograph it but here is one for reference. The second tradition was the making of ice lanterns as you can see in the photo above. Unfortunately we were chinooked when I was halfway to twelve lanterns, had to begin again and didn’t quite get all the way to twelve. They were pretty though and we just managed to get them lit a few days ago. Obviously the symbolism of lights in a dark world is also an important one to touch on. I know the symbolic possibilities are endless and I don’t think it really matters what traditions we use to remember just so long as we have a solid understanding and a clear vision of the hope we are remembering.