On Wednesday, December 21st, five classes of 3rd graders will rotate through my classroom during our grade-level Holiday Celebration. My room mom found this video to share that gives a glimpse of the many different ways religions and cultures celebrate during the winter months. It got me to think more about my family traditions.
I grew up doing to Catholic School and Mass each Sunday. At this time of year, I’d help my mom cut evergreen from the tree outside and lay it on the lazy susan that now held the round wire candle holder for the 3 purple and 1 pink candles. Before dinner, we read the Advent prayer and each week took turns to light the candles. During the first week, the one purple, then two purple, then the pink and 2 purple and finally all 4 candles. As that first purple candle got littler, I knew Christmas Day was closer. Once the pink was lit, I knew I had to wait only one more week!
During this whole time at school, we weekly walked over to the church for Winter Concert practice. The whole school, Grades 1-8, sat quietly wearing our school uniforms for what seemed like hours, practicing our songs. I still have memorized Dona Nobis Pacem, Away in the Manger and Do You Hear What I Hear. On the night of the concert, we dressed in our finest Christmas outfit and paraded into a packed church. Extra flowers and candles and spotlights were used to transform the church into a grand theater. Then the first song was sung and the story of the first Christmas began. It was acted out on the altar while, class by class, we sang a song to further tell this story.
Looking back on these memories, no wonder I still love holiday music and candles and lights! How about you? How are YOU celebrating during December?