Next Sunday will be the Third Sunday of Advent; this year December 25th will be a Sunday, so Advent III will signal exactly two more weeks to go until Noël! Are you decorating a tree this year? Planning to bake or make most of your gifts for this great Trinitarian Festival of Creation?
Lessons and Carols remains a popular tradition amongst churches in the USA; the church I've been attending has an outstanding, fairly formal music program; the choir includes paid section leaders from local universities, so barring a blizzard or other natural catastrophe, Lessons and Carols this coming Sunday will be as good as it gets. What tradition am I letting go? Second year in a row, I won't be in San Diego for Lessons and Carols at Founder's Chapel at University of San Diego, a tradition USD's music and religion departments recently began together—maybe a little over a half dozen years ago. In at least two blog posts I've mentioned Lessons and Carols at Harvard's Memorial Church, a concert/worship/winter holiday event that required tickets and started becoming a tradition with me when I was an undergrad music major at huge urban Boston University across the Charles River. Later on I took a geographical break from Boston-Cambridge, and then a respite from New England. But back there again as a seminarian, the Mem Church's Lessons and Carols re-entered my Decembers as a musical joy, and especially as a time in space where I knew I'd run into old friends and classmates, nearly forgotten acquaintances, and make plans to get together soon after the new calendar year.
If you've recently become parents or if your kids are growing into middle school and high school age, you need to consider what traditions are fun, which ones have become burdens, what winter traditions your friends and neighbors' kids enjoy that yours might want to try. I've been known to look with wistful yearning through pictures from my pasts. I don't have time or finances geographically to journey back to Cambridge or even down to Sandy Ego for Lessons and Carols, so circumstances altogether have led to my letting go of those particular Advent-Nativity traditions. This will be my second Lessons and Carols in Current City; will there be a third? Will it become a tradition? How many iterations does a tradition take?