For the last Storytelling Sunday of 2011 I am going to talk about a tradition................
What is it about Christmas lights which make the days and nights so magical as we prepare for the big day? For me it brings back childhood memories of Christmas trees, town displays, Advent candles, Angel chimes and just the overall magic of Christmas.
As children, my sister and I always went to Cheltenham to see our grandparents and one of the main events was when my dad and grandad drove us around the town centre to see the lights on display. It was always beautiful and colourful. We also had a game we would play when driving home. The game involved counting the number of Christmas trees we could see on our side of the car as we drove. Invariably, one of us would cheat at some stage and we were rather competitive at times. I still do this with my sister if we're in the car and with little people it has also become a new tradition.
Yesterday I spent the day in London with 3 girlfriends and we walked to Regent Street to see the lights there. The huge stars hung across the street like enormous cobwebs. We also walked through Carnaby Street and Covent Garden where they had an enormous tree decorated in red and silver and huge silver and red baubles hung from the ceilings. In Trafalgar Square was the traditional tree sent to the UK from Sweden.
Closer to my home, the other night, they turned on the lights in Manning Close where each home is decorated outside with the most amazing displays and the money raised goes to charity.
As for me, I will put up my tree when I get home from my week away and light the Advent candle each night as we count down to Christmas Day. I will also remember those people who do not celebrate Christmas but use light to celebrate other faith traditions. For Christmas can also mean Hannukah where specials candles are lit each night a week in memory of a miracle which happened for the Jewish people thousands of years ago? How will your traditions be celebrated?