Advent Meditation by Felicia Roper
As a child I knew that Christmas was coming when the lights went up on our neighbors’ houses. I still remember the beautiful soft glow of Christmas trees shining on the snow in our neighborhood. But we always waited until Christmas Eve to put ours up. And every year until I left my parents’ home for good, Christmas began with helping to trim our tree. As a tiny child I’d hang a few ornaments on the bottom of the tree, and after my middle brother Wally was born I worked on the middle of the tree. As a teenager my job was to go through all the tree lights and find that one bulb that kept the string from lighting up – back in the days when bad bulbs didn’t just refuse to light themselves, but took out the whole string. After the tree was done we’d all go to the 11 PM service at our church, even my younger brother Ted who started going at age 2!
And then, when Ted was about 4 or 5, we had a problem. Even though we’d come home after midnight on Christmas Eve, Teddy was running around at 6AM trying to get us up for presents. No matter how often one of us would open one eye and tell him to go back to bed, eventually he’d wake us up. After the gifts excitement passed we’d all drag through Christmas dinner and fall asleep even before we could see all of the Christmas movies on TV. So finally Wally and I came up with a PLAN: we’d come home after the midnight service, open presents and then sleep in on Christmas Day.
My parents, both good cooks, added the very best part to The Plan. We would come home, make cheese fondue, eat the fondue as we opened presents, and then sleep in. Even young Ted loved it, and we all got some sleep. After I moved away for work, I’d go back some years and enjoy our Christmas Eve feast and relaxing Christmas Day. But when work got very hectic all through the holidays and then my kids came along, the Fondue Feast went out of my life.
Until last year, when Cathy, Lizzy and I reinstituted the Feast. We’d gone to Pullen’s Youth Christmas Eve service for years, but never had done the meal and presents afterward since we’d get up very early on Christmas Day to travel to SC to Cathy’s family’s Christmas dinner. But last year their family dinner moved to the day after Christmas. We could feast and then sleep in on Christmas morning! And, for me, being able to introduce my daughter to my own favorite Christmas memory was one of the best presents I could ever receive.
During the season of Advent, daily meditations from members of the Pullen community are being posted online. Subscribe by email at www.pullen.org/category/meditation.