Contemplating The Unchanging Foundations of Christmas- The 12 Days of Blogmas Day 1

Hello!  Welcome to the Twelve Days of Blogmas 2021!!  For the next 12 days, I will be posting a Christmas-themed blog post daily leading up to Christmas Day.  I have been researching little known or inspirational stories about the holiday season and I am excited to be able to share some of the stories I’ve collected throughout the next twelve days.  Some stories are silly, some sad, others inspirational, but all I hope will serve to prepare us for the upcoming holiday.

Christmas means something different to everyone.  We need only open our eyes and look around the world at the various ways that different cultures celebrate to see that Christmas might look drastically different to various people around the world.  For us here in North America, it is strange to contemplate the summer Christmases that our friends in Australia enjoy.  In Sweden, the Yule Goat is a Swedish Christmas symbol and there is a 42 foot tall straw goat constructed annually (Here’s the goat’s website.  You can even watch a livestream to keep up with the goat through the holiday season).   Many countries in Central and South America, use fireworks and firecrackers to celebrate Christmas Eve.  And the list of traditions around the world goes on and on.

The Gavle Goat in Sweden

Even through our own lifetimes, the Christmas season evolves and most people’s adult Christmases don’t resemble the Christmases of childhood.  The evolving nature of our personal holiday experiences was really highlighted early on in my career as a social worker.  I spent eight years as a medical social worker in a long term care facility and Christmas was always one of my favorite times of the year there as we worked long in advance to prepare a special holiday season for our residents.  It was a 420 bed facility and we made sure that every resident had a gift to open on Christmas morning, so obviously it was a massive organizational effort to gather all the donated gifts, make sure everything was wrapped and organized by unit so our team of volunteers could get them all delivered expediently on Christmas morning.  We also threw a huge party with a full Christmas dinner for all residents and their families.  During my years there, my family developed a new tradition of coming to the center with me on Christmas morning to help deliver gifts.  As special as everyone always tried to make that time of year, it was still a difficult time for many patients as they remembered lost loved ones or spent their first Christmas with a new debilitating illness or first Christmas away from their homes.  Many of the stories I have gathered for these 12 days of Blogmas tell similar tales of loss and disruption during the Christmas season. 

But through all our different ways of celebrating the holiday season and through all the changes that life brings as the years keep coming at us, the underlying spirit and meaning of Christmas remains the same.  The spirit of love and peace, the shared hope we hold for the future, and for those of us of faith, the remembrance of the Ultimate Hope that we have through Christ. 

I look forward to sharing some stories with you over the next 12 days!

Past Christmas Posts:

A Squirrely Recreation of Christmas Vacation

Christmas 1944

Stepping Off The Midnight Train On New Year’s Day

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