I was going to tell you about how I always wait until the Immaculate Conception to decorate my house for Christmas. I had great plans, then they all went south when I saw this picture from my friend Stephanie on FB Saturday morning when I got home from (super) early Mass:
She sets up their nativity on the eve of Saint Nicholas' Day for her boys to find it on the morning of December 6th. So I decided to decorate on Saturday - just a few days early! I'm super glad I did.
Why did I always wait until Immaculate Conception? Some theological reason? Not, really - I like to have some time in Advent before Christmas begins, and I also LOVE Christmas Decorations! I LOVE having my nativity up. I LOVE looking at all of the Christmas Ornaments people have given me throughout the years. It's always a perfect gift for me, btw!
I think I always waited because it's a way for me to remember and honor my grandmother, Viola. She passed in 1999 on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I truly miss her, still - I want to share all of the amazing things of my life with her, to play cards late into the night at our regular sleep overs. I wish we had more time, I wish I'd had more time with my grandfather on my mom's side too. My aunt once told me that I was the apple of his eye when I was born. I have this picture upstairs on my wall of me and him on the back porch of my godfather's house in Detroit. I don't really remember him much, but I like that the photos become my memories. So I think putting up my nativity on this day reminds me of her, the beauty that is my grandmother.
I am a lover of tradition, especially around the holidays. I like giving the same gift every year to friends - always a Christmas ornament, usually homemade. I like going to Midnight Mass, seeing the nativity, singing O Come All Ye Faithful, Go Tell It On the Mountain, and maybe even seeing a light snowfall as we leave. I like getting up on Christmas morning, coming downstairs to drink some coffee, and preparing dinner - then the whole family comes over for dinner, we open presents, and visit with each other for the afternoon. Then we go 'treeing' (that's where PA natives go see other people's trees) around town to the aunts & uncles and cousins.
All of these are tied deeply to my interior traditions and expectations. All of these things, although silly as some might be, help to prepare my heart for Christmas. Preparation to receive Jesus into my soul, my heart, and my family.
Check out this year's Christmas Tree Creation on Wednesday! Happy Feast! Grandma Francis, pray for us!