|Fondest Family Love and Blessings|
As the Season of Christmas neared, the fond farewell to the old, the yesteryears of family gatherings and the thrill of Christmas anticipation were remarkably replete in forgotten memories.
The baking, from the sweet bread, the white bread, the sponge cake and the fruit cake were the virtual cravings to my empty palette.
Many family friends and colleagues posted pictures and told stories of the magic of smells coming from the family homes and kitchens. There was bounty and abundance and varieties of holiday feasts. The pictures were tastes of homesickness that were agonizing.
The cuisine, the breakfasts, lunches and dinner spreads were all too many. Everyone shared the sumptuous feasts that families over extend themselves to bestow consumptive indulgences on all tastes and palettes.
And in perspective, the sentiment of tradition pierced deeply in the solace of invisibility. The meaning of tradition is all too real, when the tradition of meaning will more than likely become extinct as years go by and memories are no longer treasured.
Why does the song O Holy Night bring tears to congregations when sung at a midnight mass service? In the nostalgia of the ethereal hope that the Savior message of the Christ born occurs; this song evokes imagery and pageantry of the celestial. In the melody of the words, “O night Divine, when Christ was born” it renders a bewitching spell of angelic harmony of birthing and renewal.
So it happens for many Catholics and other Christian denominations and even to strangers who become families.
The tradition of ritual and Church is perpetuated in the repetition of the liturgy, the doctrine, the romance of the sacred. All of the splendor and majesty that comes with the Christmas theme, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa festivities and other festive holiday practices are steeped in holistic reverence.
Even the ritual of the materialistic excesses, shopping, buying, gifting, expenses, displays are the typical and requisite holiday occurrences. They are the traditional norms today. These are the themes of the most commercial spectacles of tradition.
For the tradition of holiday gestures to be replaced by the insularity of modern isolation, it becomes a reckoning of the axiom: Out with the old, In with the new.
To reminisce on what made home for the holidays is to recall the stature of “homemaker”. In my personal idea of tradition, the homemaker was Mammy and Daddy. The essence of the holidays was work, preparations, baking and family sharing. These were the most precious gifts I have ever known.
The homemaker is for me the presence of the intangible. Is this not the Christmas story? Is this still the message of Christmas? This humble birth in a manger story, a symbolic theme of Peace and Goodwill is the defining message of the Season.
In the perception of the mercenary traditions of now, the busyness is the norm. The things that we have are mere tokens of opulence. There is a perfected farse that we no longer need to belong. It becomes natural to be apart, because we have become so proprietary. In all the busyness of our sophistication, the talents we have, the things we own, the insularity that makes us distinct from others, enables our separation.
The nostalgia of tradition wanes.
As I reflect on the paradox of the manger story, I reflect on the lowliness of the birth in a manger, the woman Mary, who despite all fears, doubts and criticisms accepted her chosen calling. Joseph, the partner, who companioned and provided intimate stewardship to family and legacy. Also in the life source of birthing, the child, the innocence, the meek, the gift of the Presence, arouses the lure of sentiment and promise.
Sentiment is not love.
While there is the challenge to constrain sentiment, to practice love distills even the murkiest distancing in life’s path of obstacles and challenges.
The cherished memories are of the warmth of home, the traditions of the family shared and the making of home. Without much of all the things that today represent value and worth, these intangibles are the anchors of history that justify tradition and legacy.
Now, it makes sense. The feeling of nostalgia, when tradition and reality collide. The reason for the Season becomes singular endeavors of private exclusivity.
In discovery, to become home and to welcome others to share the gift of home are deeper and very lonely sentiments.