Wednesday Quotes
Keeping Christmas
December 18, 2013


“Indeed, modern men, who lack such things, lack sustenance, and our fathers who founded all those ritual observances were very wise.”
Hilaire Belloc, A Remaining Christmas

Ritual observance of Christmas is not just fitting. Hilaire Belloc explains why it is necessary for our happiness, and sanity. For reflections on Belloc’s profound essay on Christmas, see my article at Aleteia, Why Christmas is So Important for Our Sanity.

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  1. The importance of tradition, even new ones, is immense.
    When my father-in-law died 30+ years ago, my wife, her brother and sister started a tradition of visiting his gravesite and lighting several luminaria around it after Christmas Eve dinner. We all tell what has transpired in our families in the past year, recall memories from the past and wish them (my mother-in-law is also now deceased) a Merry Christmas and ask for their prayers for our families in the coming year. At first, this seemed somewhat bothersome to me since we had to basically sneak past the cemetery gates, pulling a sled with the luminarias through the mud or snow to the grave. We had local police stop us to ask what we were doing. Through the years, the practice has become slightly more common and the gates of the cemetery are now left open for us and others. After never missing a year, in spite of snowstorms, rainstorms, illness, etc. this is now a solid tradition and brings a closeness to all of us and a connection to our parents. Perhaps you can use the passing of your father to also begin a new tradition to keep a connection to him during this most Holy and peaceful season.
    I wish you and your family a most Blessed Christmas.

  2. What a wonderful practice. I am very grateful that you have shared this. Since we are very blessed to have my father buried right nearby, some such practice will be very feasible for us. Thank you again, and a very blessed Christmas to you and yours too.

  3. Jerry, what a lovely practice and tradition. We began lighting luminaries in a path to a Nativity we have nestled somewhere outside and singing Christmas Carols as we travel there. When we had a larger property this was a favorite part of Christmas.