Most of you that read my musings know that my dad was my oasis in a childhood of let downs and trauma. Most years my dad had a tradition of taking my sister and I to the holy walk in a neighboring town.
A church would put it on faithfully every season. We would drive what seemed like a long distance, to a kid. We would be ushered into the high school gym where we would be put into sections in the bleachers to wait our turn. Most years the wait was very long, or what seemed very long, to a kid. We would then be directed onto school busses and driven to a piece of rural farm property where we would brave the cold and walk through the town of Bethlehem. Roman soldiers yelling and barking orders while our guide dressed in traditional clothing would speak for us as we would go to pay our taxes. We would see vendors, animals and travelers as we would walk the lit path. This ended with Mary and Joseph and baby jesus under a star in a stable. And don’t forget the hot chocolate and homemade cookies in the barn for each of us as we would wait on another fun bus ride filled with singing Christmas carols back to the school.
The tradition slipped away with time and it was something talked about, but never planned. And as you know, drugs, bars and parties got in my way of continuing the tradition…until. Last year I took my two older girls and my mother/law. And this past Friday, my husband and my youngest joined us! It may seem like a small thing to some, or even silly to others. But to me, it feels like going home. I love everything about it. Well, except the cold. It got down to the 20’s Friday night.
I love, love the fact that it’s something I did that my kids can do. I don’t have much of that to share with them. On our Christmas tree there are ornaments my husband made as a boy. There are toys in the closet he played with as a child. I don’t have that to show my girls. So it just made me feel so proud.
I’ll share pictures with you at the end. But I wanted to drive a point home with this post. First, there were many amish in our group. They watched us curiously throughout…as I, did them. There were also many complaints going up around me, “15 mins a bus, that means we wait an hour and 15 minutes, ugh.” Another complaint was about the cold, and another about the cookies weren’t the kind she liked. But at the end, after we saw Mary and Joseph-holding what I hope to be a baby doll in that cold!- our guide took us to a cross. He spoke of Christ. How Christ was born so he could die for our sins, which I gave an amen to. This action sent the amish girls looking at me so strangely, as it’s not their custom for women to speak out like so. The guide mentioned there were pastors in a tent waiting for anyone with questions on how to be saved behind us. I believe these pastors and this guide to be of a different denomination than mine. That’s when it hit me. Some of us are there because our church is putting on this event, some of us are there because it’s fun and we never get out into the world, and some of us are there to re-create a family tradition…but we were all there that night because we all believe.