Sunday, December 11, 2011

And a child shall lead them...

 This weekend we got to spend the weekend with Paul's side of the family:  his parents, his two brothers, their wives, and our two nieces (more on the festivities later).  The picture above is of my youngest niece, Morgan, who is 6 months old (give or take a few days).  This weekend Morgan reminded me of some important bits of wisdom.  I had the privilege of rocking her to sleep not once, but twice, this weekend.  Swoony. It was so so sweet.  As I was standing, swaying, and humming her to sleep I had a few thoughts go through my head:

"Who ever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child cannot enter in the kingdom of heaven."

As I looked at her sweet face I thought of how I really did not cherish the times I was trying in vain to get my own children to go to sleep.  I was always frustrated, impatient, and upset that I was spending time in a room all alone, save for a screaming infant.  But now that my own children are now past that point, and I don't get to do it anymore, it's more of a cherished experience.  I am not proud of those last few sentences...sigh.  As I was thinking through that, I thought about how God wants us to be as little children....and what exactly does that mean.  Because, you see, I am often like a little child.  
I whine
I pout
I'm selfish
I'm impatient
I want things that other people have
I want my way...right now!
Sigh, sadly, I am way more like a child than I would rather admit.  That is quite a pathetic list.

However, God calls us to be childlike not childish.

He wants us to come to Him with open, accepting hearts.  
With a faith that surpasses any kind of explanation.  
Forgiving hearts.
And, just like Morgan did for me, rest peacefully in His arms, with security and no fear of being harmed or abandoned.

Thank you, Morgan.  You are an excellent little teacher.
"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about"

So, a little bit on our Christmas celebration with the Suvar's.  One great thing we do every year is the Villia dinner.  This is a traditional Slovakian meal that reflects on Jesus' life on earth.  It is eaten every Christmas.  There are several parts to the meal, and I will do my best to remember everything.
There is a candle placed outside to welcome in the Holy family.
There is hay on the table to represent Jesus' humble beginnings in a stable.
Evergreen on the table represents eternal life in Jesus.
Money is placed on the table in hopes of a prosperous new year.
A white table cloth is placed on the table to represent purity.
There are twelve dishes served to represent the 12 disciples.
A cross of honey is marked on each forehead by the oldest son as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.
We start with oplatky, which is similar to a communion biscuit, and break a piece off as we pass it around the table and wish one another a Merry Christmas.  We then have a sip of wine.
An apple is sliced and shared with everyone at the table. A symbol of the blessings in our lives.
Each member breaks open 3 walnuts - good nut=good year.   bad nut= well, you know.
We then pass around the remainder of the dishes to be shared:
Prunes - to remind us of Jesus cursing the fig tree
Sauerkraut and garlic - to remind us of the bitter things in life
Peas - to remind us of the sweet things in life
Bread (Slovakian nut breads! yum!) and fish (shrimp and clam chowder!) - to remind us of the miracle of the loaves and fishes
Cottage cheese with opanskance (small balls of bread)
I know there are some things that I am leaving out, but I think I have the majority of it.  We have done this tradition with Paul's family for the last 9 years, I hope that we continue to do it each year.  I love the deep family roots of it (Paul's dad's family is from Czechoslovakia) and how the whole meal points back to Christ.  Because, after all, isn't that what Christmas (and life!) is all about?

1 comment:

  1. The walnut rule is ABSOLUTELY true. My big toe can attest to that.