There are the”candles” in our windows.
Turned on each evening.
Light shining in the darkness.
And, our Christmas tree.
Decorated with ornaments collected over a lifetime.
This year including the first ornament my Mom and Dad bought when they celebrated their first Christmas together in Alaska where my Dad was stationed during the Korean War. An Eskimo child on a dog sled. I was almost two months old.
And, the Advent candles we light and the Christmas music we play as we share dinner together.
The other tradition I treasure is baking bread.
I have baked bread most of my adult life.
But this bread is different.
We began baking it when our oldest son was in elementary school.
Rather than give his teacher a mug or a book, we decided we would make bread and give her a loaf of our fresh made Christmas bread. And, so we did.
6 year old hands on top of mine as we kneaded the bread.
Standing on a stool so he could reach the counter.
Then standing next to me. His hands next to mine.
Then our second son adding his hands.
And his presence.
Each Advent for more than 30 years.
Now it is just me.
Standing at the kitchen counter.
Kneading the bread.
Smelling it as it bakes.
But, they are still there.
Young hands on top of mine.
Strong hands next to mine.
And, with me too are all those to whom we have given our Christmas bread.
Mixed together in the dough.
And the memories.
As I get ready for Christmas.