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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Advent Journey Day 11

Ok, Ok, so it's day 12 now in Sweden but it's still day 11 in California so I'm feeling OK about that!  We have old and dear friends in town right now so we were up very late last night, remembering, laughing, talking, sharing.  It was great.  Yesterday was also 11-12-13 here in Sweden since we write the day before the month here.  I like things that like so I enjoyed writing the date yesterday. But I digress.  Onto my thoughts for day 11.
We started our day yesterday with our annual Jul Gröt (Christmas porridge) breakfast with the staff of Immanuel Church.  It's a fun morning together where we pause in the midst of the busyness to share a little Christmas moment together.  We had a nice chapel service with some beautiful music. Then we enjoyed the Christmas porridge that is a bit like rice pudding if you've ever had that. Laden with sugar and cinnamon is the best way to eat this classic Swedish comfort food.  Most Swedish families will have this on Christmas Eve.  We don't eat it at home so it's a big treat for us to have someone else make it and serve it!  Additionally there are ham sandwiches, pepparkakor (Swedish ginger cookies) and of course, coffee!  I was enjoying my food so much that I forgot to take a picture of Jul Gröt!
This year's entertainment included fun music, a pin the tail on the camel game, (Doug was the front part of the camel!), a Christmas tree building competition using non-traditional items, and a Christmas quiz.   I think it goes without saying that our tree did not win.  That is a marshmallow Santa on top even though it looks like something else!
The table were beautifully decorated and named for a part of the nativity.  I was seated at the angel table.  At the end of our time, we get our Christmas present from the church. This year we received some beautiful blankets.  
Traditions are fun.  They remind us of the rhythms of life and they return us to memories that we hold dear.  They provide some level of stability in the midst of an ever-changing world.  Traditions, while remaining the same, are also different each year because we are different each year and the circumstances in which we enter our traditions are different each year.  Even so, it's always fun to see what new things come out of old habits!  The one thing tradition that does not change is that at Christmas God seeks to draw near to us through his son Jesus Christ.  So as you gather for your treasured holiday traditions, I hope you will find time to gather around the manger and celebrate the greatest tradition of all this time of year...the Christ of Christmas.