Traditions are funny things. On the one hand, traditions can feel rote, and obligatory- there is a certain discipline required in observing them, even when we don’t “feel” it. On the other hand, traditions can be places of deep meaning, where we breathe deeply and encounter the wonders and mysteries of life.
Our Heritage Christmas season contained several such traditions. One of these involved a lunch-time gathering followed by a time of singing Christmas carols. This was one of the first of many scheduled activities in a very busy Christmas season. I cautiously approached this tradition with mixed feelings of obligation and hope.
As we shared in a time of singing that afternoon, I was humbled. I saw many beautiful things. I saw two of our residents from different communities sharing their musical gifts with others. I saw those who were newer to our community, joining in this tradition. I saw those who have been around for a long time, expressing themselves in song. I saw those with challenges being helped by others with their own challenges- singing together the beautiful songs of the season. I saw those who had experienced loss or change in the past year, showing up to receive the grace and blessing of the Christmas season.
All of these things happen in community. Traditions are enriched as we share them with one another. I come with my fixed feelings about life and the season. You come with the ups and downs you have experienced. We encounter these meaningful traditions together and something wonderful happens. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
At Heritage, we provide the setting where these moments of community can happen. These significant traditions occur as we share the gift of life with one another. Thank you, as always, for your prayers, your involvement and your giving, which makes these moments possible across all of our Heritage communities.
by Larry Petry, Senior Chaplain