Traditions Cross the Border
By Diana Solorio of Independence, MO, USA
He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. —Isaiah 2:4 NRSV
From my earliest memory, baking has been a part of my holiday tradition. My mom would bake cookies and breads to share with family, friends, and neighbors, and from an early age I was in the kitchen helping out. Living in or near Mexico for a good part of my life, the foods of Latin America also have become a part of that tradition.
During my junior year of high school my mom prepared her usual tray of goodies for our next-door neighbors and delivered them a few days before Christmas. On Christmas Eve our doorbell rang, and there stood our neighbors with a tray of steaming hot tamales, a traditional Christmas Eve meal, fresh from the pot. Tamales are difficult to make—a true labor of love—and usually only shared with family or close friends.
We invited them in, and they shared appreciation for the tray of baked goods. They also wanted to share what they had created in their kitchen. This began a deeper friendship that lasted many years. As the Christmas season approached they would tease us about their expectations for cookies. And on Christmas Eve we would look forward to those delicious tamales.
Little did I know, on that Christmas Eve long ago, a few baked goods would lead to friendships and traditions that I carry on to this day. I wonder if the cast of characters present at the birth of Christ knew what traditions, inspired by that event, would endure to this day. Advent prepares us for the expected tradition and the unexpected mystery.
Prayer for Peace
Mysterious God, help us appreciate the moments we wait—expected traditions and unexpected meetings with new friends. May we cherish the time we wait for the Christ child, not knowing what new experiences and insights he may bring.
Spiritual Practice: Advent—Love
Reflect on the love of God. How is it that God sent Christ to be “all our loves exceeding”? How do you see God’s love revealed in Christ? How do you reveal God’s love in your own life? Think of ways you can express that love as you prepare for the Son of God—Love’s Pure Light. Thank God for the ultimate gift of love: Jesus Christ.
Today, God, I will explore Advent traditions of other cultures.