Traditions and Decisions
One of the strangest parts about preparing to join my life with Ben's is discussing what to do about holidays.
You know, when you grow up in a household, you just go along with your parents' traditions and decisions. You have certain ways of doing things, certain expectations, and there just isn't much you mess with. Christmas Eve is always at Aunt Rosie and Uncle Dennis's house, Christmas is always at Aunt Peggy and Uncle Dan's house, and someone always has to make the pies on Thanksgiving because that's what we always bring.
When you're married, you have to combine two sets of those traditions and come up with something your kids are going to take for granted every year. It's a weird task.
This year, for instance, is going to be odd simply because Thanksgiving is happening right on top of our wedding. We've got family from out of town on both sides coming in because of our wedding and both families want us both to be present. We found out during Easter this year that double-family-holidays are really for the birds. You don't get to spend enough time at either family's house and you eat way too much. Not a good plan when you have to fit into a tux and wedding dress (one for each, not both for both. I know some of you were thinking it.).
But for the birds or not, I think we're going to have to spend Thanksgiving with both families this year and begin our plan of alternating next year. We're not too keen on making going-back-and-forth our new tradition.
That's just the location, though. And it's all about the extended family, not just the family that exists of Ben-and-Lauren-and-hopefully-kids-someday. When it comes to us, it's almost like a blank slate.
Ben would very much like to celebrate the Biblical holidays, which means certain holidays neither of us has ever really celebrated before like Passover, the Feast of Trumpets, First-Fruits (harvest), the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Day of Atonement. We do sort of celebrate Pentecost and we do set the Sabbath aside, but other than that we hardly even notice when the days come and go.
The biggest tangle to unknot regarding these holidays is separating what God wanted his people to be celebrating from what the holidays have eventually evolved into. Delving into the traditions of a holiday can get to be kind of a sticky mess, especially when you come to joining Christian understanding of what the holidays mean to the ancient preparations God intended his people to make. The holidays are all about the coming of God to his people: a prophecy he fulfilled once and is going to fulfill again. Ben's point is that the holidays were meant to give people who believe in God a glimpse of how the Kingdom of God functions and what events are going to take place on Earth before the end, so it would make sense to actually do the preparation God laid out for us to do. Even if it turns out God didn't specifically command us Gentiles to set those days aside as he commanded his Chosen People to, if he thinks it's a good idea for his children then we're interested in it too. God gives good gifts to his children, Jesus reminded us in Matthew:
Matthew 7:11 (ESV)
11"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"
It's one thing to understand the philosophical "whys" of celebrating the Biblical holidays, though: it's another to actually figure out how to set them aside. It's always a bit of a tug to keep things from intruding on the Sabbath; but we're kind of used to that. The holidays can be a little tougher because they often occur on odd days when people don't necessarily understand why you're taking the day off when you're not Jewish. If I had a nickle for every time I said I couldn't do something on Saturday because I celebrate the Sabbath and someone looked at me oddly and said, "Why? You're not Jewish, are you?" I'd have a much bigger savings account these days.
At any rate, Ben and I have been talking a lot about holidays and how and why to celebrate them over the past few weeks and one of the oddest things is starting from scratch saying, "Do we want to do this? What about that?" It's like the first time finding out you were in charge of planning and making a meal.
One thing's for sure: neither one of us is much of a party person. Apparently our idea of "celebration" is...not doing much at all! We'll never be the type to host an all-out New Year's bash or have themed birthday parties (I already warned Mom Turner about this and apologized in advance). My guess is our holidays will usually consist of resting, having a nice meal...and visiting with our families in a relaxed sort of way.
But I do promise to continue making fudge with Anna at Christmas time. This is one tradition that should carry on.
10/25/2011 02:45:24 am
There was a comment left here asking for some clarity on part of this post - I edited the paragraph to hopefully make it more understandable, but in the process I accidentally lost the original comments. One of the hazards of being an amateur website manager, I suppose. I apologize and hope my original meaning now comes through much better, at any rate!
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Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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