Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Traditions: Part I

One of my most favorite traditions that we did both as a family and as a church growing up was that of advent. Advent kicked our holidays off every year and our church hosted a Chrismon service on the first Sunday evening of Advent (which is the first Sunday in December).

These services were always special - meaningful with the church's holiday tree covered in Chrismons (ornaments that were designed with specific religious meaning behind each one). Several special Chrismons were highlighted in the service, Christmas carols were sung, and members of the congregation would share testimony of how God had worked in their life over the past year.

The Advent wreath was a huge symbol, the first candle being lit that evening. At home, we also lit our candles ever Sunday - anticipating more and more the day of Christmas.

What I cherished most about that service and our advent wreath were the coming together of family - not just biological family - church family. I have realized as an adult that I was SO blessed with the church experience I had back home. The families that worshiped with us also helped raise us, taught us Sunday School, celebrated with us, mourned with us, and prayed for us. They were my family and they still are today - as many of them still contact us, pray for us, and love on us when we go home.

It is hard for me this year as I know I will not be "home" for Christmas. My family is choosing to stay in Texas this year and Atmore will not be on our agenda - therefore, I won't see my Atmore family either. But this is truly why I believe we carry on traditions, so that I can have those people with me in spirit while I celebrate these special memories with my own children and pass them down to generations to come.


Julie said...

I know what you mean! I miss so much about our little church family, but I miss it most at Christmas time. Lots of fun memories!

Courtney said...

Great post, and it couldn't be more true. I looked forward to that service every year. One thing that always stuck out to me even as a young girl was the tears shed in that service. So much heartache for such a small congregation, but we suffered through things together. If one was hurting, then we were all hurting.

Joanne Owen said...

Alison, I can hardly see through my tears to type this! This will be a difficult Christmas for many reasons, but you are right. Traditions and memories are the good stuff that life is made of. I always dreamed of the day when all of you would come back home with your spouses and children and we would fill up four or five pews with all the Moore's at the Crismon Service!

There was an article in the December issue of "atmore magazine" about the Crismons and our service at First Pres. Your post would have been a great addition.

Love you. Wish we could all be together again this Christmas--duty asks us to be here with Mommie this year. Maybe next year!


Alison said...

Mom, I appreciate the call of duty and understand the need for seperation this year. Times are a changin' and we all must accept our new life. So grateful for our Atmore family and always will be - I know Courtney and Julie do too. Thanks for remembering with me. :)