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Christmas Memories, Part Four: Treated Like Family / To Break a Tradition?

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Treated Like Family

By Jennifer Sawatzky

Back in 2013, I was out in British Columbia at Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre. This was my first time being so far away from home and it was very hard for me. But I looked forward to it being Christmas, because that meant I could go home and see my family.

As Christmas came closer, my family and I were trying to make plans to get a flight home for me. When it came down to it, though, we couldn’t afford to get me home for Christmas. That left me to find a place to stay and spend Christmas away from my family for the first time.

Thankfully, one of my friends, who had previously attended Capernwray, lived nearby with her grandpa. She offered for me to spend Christmas with her family. I was upset that I couldn’t go home to my family, but I was thankful that I quickly found a family to spend this time with.

I would definitely have to say this was a very memorable Christmas for me. During the time I was at my friends’ house, her aunt and uncle and their kids came to stay there as well. These people were strangers to me, but they treated me like family.

Come Christmas morning, I wasn’t expecting much for presents, because these people didn’t know me and I didn’t know them. As it turned out, they had gone Christmas shopping while they were with us and bought me presents, too.

That Christmas, I was so blessed. I was treated like family, and that’s something I am going to remember for the rest of my life. Merry Christmas.


Break from Tradition? Absolutely Not!

By Ruth Braun

One year I said to my daughter, “I’m pretty busy this year, and I’m not sure I have a free Saturday between now and Christmas Eve, so maybe I’ll just pick up a box of one of those nice appetizers at Costco instead of making our mushroom turnovers.”

I’ll never forget the look of sheer horror that swept across her face. “Absolutely no!” she stated emphatically.

I had already been imagining how much time I would save, how nice it would be to pull those nice flaky store-bought pockets from the freezer on Christmas Eve, baking them on my new stone baking sheet and serving them with no work involved.

But my daughter wouldn’t have it. “Mom! We can’t do that! We’ve had mushroom turnovers ever since I can remember! I’ll come help you.”

Her voice was strong and clear and there was no more discussion needed.

I think it’s now been forty years of us making those annual mushroom turnovers, and the temptation to simplify our long-standing tradition has never been discussed since.

It’s a yearly anticipation, and not just the part where we enjoy them on Christmas Eve, but also the whole production of making them. Several of us get together well in advance, turn on the Christmas playlist, and make hundreds of the turnovers. Yes, the recipe is the same, recorded in a very stained old green school notebook, but the volume has grown and whoever in the family comes to help also gets to bring some home to serve at their own Christmas events.

What is it about these non-negotiable family traditions that are so meaningful? Do we have a deep-seated desire for what’s familiar? Does routine provide comfort and safety? Do we enjoy the anticipation of repeating precious memories? Is it a God-given value for us to form connections and share our joys with the people closest to us?

Whatever your tradition is at Christmas, don’t worry about changing it. If you’re a new family, go ahead and have fun developing your own traditions. Or, if you want the recipe for these delicious cream cheese mushroom pastries, seasoned with thyme and wonderful in every way, email the editor of this paper. He knows what I’m talking about.

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