By Tammy Seibert
“I do hope your Christmas has had a little touch of eternity in among the rush and pitter-patter and all. It always seems such a mixing of this world and the next – but that after all is the idea.” Evelyn Underhill
One of my favorite childhood memories of Christmas is the ritual of the Hanging of the Greens to celebrate The Advent Season. We prepare our hearts. We make room again for the coming of the Christ Child. We also had a tradition of Christmas Eve Communion which we continue to this day. It is so peaceful and beautiful to pause and take in the beauty of what Christmas is truly about.
I am married to a man from Buffalo, New York who was raised Catholic and graduated from Catholic High School and Canisus College. We have spent many Christmas Eves driving with snow falling to Midnight Mass at St. Gregory’s Church with Eric’s family.
Most people these days put little thought into dressing for church service. The overarching message is “Come as you are” because we don’t want to leave anyone out or make guests feel unwelcome. But the more I reflected on this, I think when I dress up I am telling God “You are worth the effort; you deserve my best.”
Secondly, dressing up changes my interior orientation. When I put on a dress or a skirt my thoughts, speech, and general approach to the world all change. Times have changed and we all know fewer people today are dressing up for church. Taking the time and effort to dress better sends a message to your kids that God is worth taking off the jeans and presenting our best for worship. It’s like the gift of the Magi…I can give of myself in this manner. I think it is so important to teach your children the importance of celebrating by example. We all know actions speaks louder than words.
I think it is a beautiful gesture to romance the Christmas season by keeping a special logbook. We were given our Christmas Book when we got married and it’s 25 years of Christmas. I’m now on Book 2. It has a place for your Christmas card and a place to write all your special memories of each year. Whether you feel that December whizzes by in a blur of hectic activity, or just want a keepsake for your family, recording how many ways it touches you will bring the season into vivid focus, now and in years to come. There’s nothing more wonderful than saying, “Ah, yes, I remember it well.” With a smile.
The Real-Real Behind the Scenes
In the Methodist church we always decorated with these symbols:
Evergreens: long been symbolic of life and growth; Cedar for royalty, fir and pine boughs for everlasting life. The spicy fragrance of pine and cedar remind us of the promised awakening of the earth in spring, even when all else is barren in winter.
Holly Wreaths: The Christmas wreath was begun as a symbol of the crown of thorns. The circle has long been symbolic of never-ending eternity and everlasting life. We usually sing “Joy to the World” while the wreaths are being brought in.
My favorite is Lighting of the Candles: Candles are the reminders of Jesus as the light of the world.
The Real-Real Behind the Scenes Take Two
I bought this sequined belt at Rothschild’s in Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City in the early 80s for a formal sorority party. Now the department store is no longer but the Christian Dior sequined belt is still in my closet and as vintage goes, it is over 30 years old. It was a wonderful reminder that I have always loved romancing the season.
A Little Background Music
*Photos of Tammy by Darrin Presley