By Beth Lema
Fall has always been my favorite time of year. Yes, the weather is cooler, crisp air breathes in a cleansing of sorts and the colors are spectacular. The anticipation of the Holidays coming and the time to get ready to decorate, bake and celebrate is upon us. Fall is a time of anticipation of the harvest of apples and vegetables from summers garden and over the years Deacon Sal and I shared an annual Apple picking adventure to a farm in Indiana. They were known for the many fields of different varieties of Apple trees, Hot Apple Cider, and of course homemade Apple Cinnamon donuts. Yummy……. Stopping along the way at Farmers Markets we loaded up on fresh harvested vegetables and fruits.
As October was ending, we were also on the lookout for the perfect pumpkin to carve. We both celebrate fall birthdays a week apart with Halloween in between. Decorating for the holiday and carving a pumpkin has always been a fun tradition. Looking at past pictures inspires and excites us as to what the outcome of the carving will be for this year. Since moving to Arizonia 8 years ago we have kept up with these treasured traditions, although it is hard to find a good apple orchard in the desert. Then we begin preparing for Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas. All these holidays have traditions that we honor each year.
Thanksgiving brings memories and traditional family dinners, celebrated at both sets of grandparent’s homes. Calories abound and so did the love from over twenty of us at my Grandma Andersen’s to just six of us as my Grandma Lenses.
I have fond memories of learning how to bake with my mom in our small apartment kitchen growing up. It is these recipes from my mom’s that I cherish the most. The hours spent in the kitchen were a time spent with her that I hold deep in my memory and heart. Now that she has passed away these memories fill me with peace and joy. I so enjoy getting the recipes out and starting to bake for the holidays. My mom was also a collector of ornaments and I have been blessed to have them and put them up on our tree every year. Each ornament has a story about when they were bought and what meaning they have. My most treasured tradition at Christmas is a Ceramic Nativity set that she made for us. Christ was always the center of our home growing up. The Nativity was always put out under the tree the very day the tree went up, which was usually the day after Thanksgiving. And I was given an Advent Calander to anticipate the coming days before the celebration of Jesus’s birth. We have kept many of these traditions from the past and applied them to our holidays today and look to the future by making some new traditions as the times in our lives have changed.
You see Traditions are all around us if we just take the time to reflect on them. Our lives are so busy that taking time to reflect on the past doesn’t seem to fit in. Yet it is in the past that we find the traditions from our families, some good and some we might what to forget, that brings us into the future. Whether we are single widows, aging grandparents, middle aged families with growing children or young families just beginning, each of us has traditions to pass on. Recipes, dishes, ornaments, family Christmas Mass, holiday dinners. And as the years go by our lives change, and the holidays can prove to be a difficult time for many. Embrace your families and friends during the coming Christmas season by sharing in the joy of time spent together, remembering, and celebrating the Birth of our Savior.
Reflect on the past, live in the Present and Look forward to what the future holds.