Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” (NLT) I have had a hard time with this scripture this year; especially this Christmas season. A close friend advised me to use the internet for a possible source of finding out why holidays sometimes affect us in a negative way. I did find a few good resources, but one seemed to hit on one thing in particular that could explain what I was feeling! It was possible that I was grieving because Christmas had changed from what it had always been. I had to look back over my Christmas memories to get a better understanding of what I was missing so much!
I realized that I have had to change my Christmas “tradition” many times over the years! Christmas Eve has always been the Danish tradition of “dancing around the Christmas tree”! When I was young, most Christmas Eves were spent at our Grandma and Grandpa Olsen’s home. After enjoying a delicious supper Grandma had prepared; the entire family, including grandparents, aunts and uncles and all the cousins would join hands and sing Christmas carols, as we would circle the Christmas tree! (The Christmas tree lights were “blinking” as Grandma always had the old-timey bubble lights). The only light would be from the Christmas tree, which added to the spiritual atmosphere we all shared! Then it was time for the Danish song that all kids love! “Nu ar det Jul igen” is a Danish Christmas song that is actually “danced” around the tree with stomping feet and switching direction of the circle after singing it a couple of times! I believe it’s meaning was something like “Now it is Christmas again and may the joy of Christmas last until Easter”. Of course, we sing it many times along with the other Christmas carols because the children love it so much!
When Grandma Olsen wasn’t able to host all of us, we danced around the Christmas tree at my Aunt Norma’s home! As we married and started having children, we started celebrating Christmas Eve at Mom and Daddy’s home and passed on all the Danish traditions to the next generation! Looking back now, I can see that I adjusted very well to these changes. The next big adjustment came when we moved to North Carolina from Iowa. Since there wasn’t enough of us to hold hands around the tree; we invited neighbors and new friends to join us on Christmas Eve. Everyone always loved the dancing around the Christmas tree and especially the fun Danish carol!
Even after moving away, we were fortunate to travel back to Iowa a couple of times and dance around the Christmas tree with my parents and siblings’ families until Daddy spent Christmas in heaven in 2001. Mother would join us for Christmas as often as she could until Christmas of 2007 when she suffered a stroke that meant she wouldn’t be able to travel or stay in her own home.
This Christmas of 2016 we welcome a new Great Grandson! It’s always more fun when we have little kids join us around the tree! We have two other Great Grandsons; one will be three years old and a five year old, that will be all smiles when we turn off all the lights except the Christmas tree! They will laugh as we dance to “Nu er det Jul igen” and quickly change direction! I still enjoy talking to my 95 year old mother in Iowa every night! I miss my Daddy, my son and a granddaughter and many other family and friends; but feel peace in knowing I will see them again with Jesus in heaven! So why am I having a hard time adjusting to this Christmas season?
I found in that article; that I am grieving because I have had to give up one more tradition: preparing the Christmas Eve meal and having my kids and their families at our home for dancing around the tree! My son and daughter-in-law are hosting our family for Christmas Eve for the second time this year and I am so grateful! We will still dance around the Christmas tree in their home! But this is a new “season” in my life.! A time for a new “activity”! The answer was in my Bible all the time!! So, as the article suggested; Brad and I will start a new Christmas tradition we can look forward to for future Christmas seasons. We have decided that we will have our kids and their families come to our house for pancake breakfast the Saturday before Christmas Eve. That makes us both very happy until it is time for another “season” !
To all my fellow Pilgrims traveling God’s trail with me, I pray for a Merry Christmas for you and all your friends and family! Jesus is the reason we celebrate this Christmas! So, whatever tradition you use to celebrate, remember Jesus, our Savior, was God’s gift to us. He was born to pay for our sins that we may live eternity with Him!! MERRY CHRISTMAS! or as they say in Denmark: Gladelig Jul!