I have always been fascinated by rituals. I often wonder if it’s because with a ritual there are often definite parameters to follow, and I often function my best with good boundaries.
Right now we’re in the middle of the ritual of Lent. Lent is the six week period leading up to Easter. It’s one of the most important times of year for many Christians around the world, particularly those within the Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox traditions, held at a similar level of importance to Advent. A time to look at your life and ponder whether you’re practicing the things Jesus taught us before his death and resurrection on Easter.
Advent is my FAVORITE ritual of all time. There’s just something special about the peaceful unity at a candlelight service. It often makes me cry…
While I was doing some pondering about rituals the other day, I got thinking about personal and family rituals. Things that make life deeply meaningful. For example, when our kids were growing up, every year at Christmas his nibs (who wishes to be referred to as the “Big Kahuna” now because he just bought two Hawaiian shirts to wear on our cruise — can we say “tourist!”) and I would each write a letter to the kids and stash them away for the future. We’d review their year, encourage them, and tell them how much we loved them — and often how much we had learned from them.
Stef got all her letters in a leather box on the eve of her wedding. Bran found his in his suitcase when he moved to Florida to marry Mariel. When they moved in with us a year later he gave them back to me to give to him later. He had only open and read the first one and cried all the way through it. They’re in our safe deposit box at the credit union now.
Christmas brought it’s own rituals. There was always a new velvet dress under the tree for Stef and a sweater for Bran. And as a family we would bake pumpkin breads and visit the shut-ins from church. Bran would play the trumpet while the other three of us screeched along to Silent Night or O Little Town of Bethlehem.
We also made it a point to watch movies with the kids on Saturday nights (until they got old enough to date!). They took turns picking them out and we’d talk about them. And Easter eggs! I wonder how many of them we’ve colored in our 47 years???
As for me personally, when I have those special moments in life where I’ve been touched deeply by something or someone, I always find a small reminder to add to my box of remembrances — a tiny, unopened pine cone, a rock, a glass bird, a pink ribbon with a sterling silver toe shoe on it that the “Big Kahuna” gave me one year when I was having a horrible time. He made a card to go with it that said: “Dream of Dancing. God knows your heart.”
I could go on and on, but I’ll shut up now (did I mention journaling?). And I will invite YOU to share on here any rituals YOU have had in your life over the years! And feel free to share why they were so important to you…
(Another ritual I LOVE! Handfasting at weddings…)
(Ok, shutting up…)