Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cookies of Christmas Past

Greetings all,

I hope you are having a happy holiday season so far.  The next two weeks we'll all be kicked into high gear with Christmas and New Years.  These are both the most anticipated and dreaded holidays.  They lift our hearts or weigh them down.  At times in our life it will be both.

Holidays are great stirrers of memory for us.  In every tradition there are certain holidays where families come together and share with one another.  Some of us are touched most deeply by the bright decorations and lights we string up in the dark of the year.  Some of us are grabbed by the music of carols and chants.  Some love the giving and receiving of gifts (some even relish the shopping).  Some of us look forward to the sweet temptations of the table.

What stirs my memory is the baking, and the tins and tins of Christmas cookies.  In our house an abundance of cookies was a great rarity.  I remember helping to decorate cream cheese cookies and almond cookies in the shapes of wreaths and trees with colored sprinkles.  I of course remember gifts as a child, but as I got older there were fewer things that I really wanted, and it is the taste of the holidays that most brings me back to the feelings of being a child at the holidays.

As family members have moved away, or passed beyond the veil, though our celebrations grow smaller.  In many respects it just isn't feasible to make so many of the holiday treats for a shrinking circle.  So the feasts have become smaller, and now with everyone's busy schedules it takes a supreme effort to get together to make our cookies.  This year we are forgoing some of my favorites.  It can be hard because as we let go of more of our dishes it feels less and less like the holidays of days past.  Although bittersweet perhaps it is for the best.  If we hang on too tightly to the experiences of the past we miss the joys that are around us in the present.  We forget to appreciate what we have.  You will only have so many cookies in your lifetime, and only so many holidays with relatives before they too are lost either by time, distance, or estrangement.  As we grow in our lives sometimes sadly we grow apart.

Don't be such a downer Mooneagle you might be thinking.  I do have a point I swear.  We must learn to let go of some parts of our traditions or we become slaves to them.  Is there something this season that you are forcing yourself to do only because you've done it in all the years past?  We can be so afraid of letting others down especially this time of year that we spend more time stressing over the holidays than actually enjoying it with our loved ones.  We are supposed to gather in love in fellowship in the dark of the year.  We don't have to follow the exact same route each year.  If we do, we leave the hearts we had as children in the past.  The holidays really aren't about getting everything you want whether at the table or under the tree.  They are about coming together and appreciating the people around the table.  Try to remember that this year.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

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