Day 4 of Holiday Traditions // Lee Ann Taylor

A Time for Packing Up Boxes and Unpacking Memories!

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow
— James 1:17

My family and I are rolling into a holiday season that will be full of moving. Over the course of the next several weeks, we will be boxing up all of our belongings. I want to be transparent. At first, I was completely panicking inside. How would I make this holiday season special? How would I follow through with all of our favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions if everything was in boxes? But then, during my quiet time, God impressed upon my heart what is most important. We will be together, and we will do as many of our favorite traditions as we can. Some holiday seasons look different, and that's OK. If you are rolling into a holiday season that will look different, I want to encourage you to focus on God and family.

And some of the family members we will be focusing on are gone but not forgotten, absent yet still present and, above all, forevermore loved. Even before my grandparents slipped away from this world, my distance from them inspired tradition because tradition makes the distance feel less significant. I especially felt the pull towards tradition during the holiday season, specifically when it is time to cook a turkey or deck the halls. I can make cocoa, turn on Christmas by Elvis, ready the ornament bins and gather my people just like my grandparents.

We sift through decades of life together: old platters, ornaments that represent our sacred union, our first home, our first child, our second child, anniversaries, landmarks, losses, gains, failures and victories. Each platter has a history, each individually wrapped ornament represents a story, and most of them came from my grandparents. They knew we would need a tangible reminder of God’s goodness and grace. Something we could touch. Something we could hold.

There have been years when the traditions of feasting around the table and decking the halls made me joyful. The Thanksgivings between my granny's stroke and her passing a few years later were hard for me. She couldn't talk on the phone after her stroke, and she was 10 hours away. Jonathan was so sensitive to my love for her. We spent at least one of those Thanksgivings in a hotel just so I could be with her.  More recently, after losing my granny, there was a year when the anticipation of tradition made me feel great sorrow. Thankfully, my sweet man took the reigns that year. He made the cocoa, cranked the tunes and readied the bins. He prompted the stories and held me when the stories made me cry. I went through the motions that year, but the motions reminded me of all the sweet memories, of God’ goodness and grace. “For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:5

We serve a relational God. He wants to have a relationship with us, and He wants to love us through our relationships. Traditions can breed lasting unity within our relationships because traditions have meaning. When a group of people with a common aim come together, in our case, to celebrate Thanksgiving/deck the halls, and they celebrate/deck the halls the way they have always celebrated/decked the halls, they teach their children how to celebrate and deck the halls. They find unification through traditions with one another. They find connection - even in unpacking boxes!

  • What unifying traditions can you share with your family?
  • How can you praise the Father of lights in your valley or on your mountain top?
  • Challenge: Give away a tangible reminder of God’s goodness and grace.

Answer any of these questions either in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group. #undividedwomen.

// Lee Ann

Granny’s Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs were a Thanksgiving staple at granny's. She taught me how to make them, but we never measured a thing. Yolk, mayo, mustard, relish and a dash of salt and pepper. Keep mixing and adding for taste. Nothing ever has or ever will taste like hers. That's when I learned a real life lesson: there's no substitute for the lady holding the spoon. AND while it’s not really a recipe, I always make sure we have pickles, olives, sliced tomatoes and sliced onions on the table for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Lee Ann and Jonathan Taylor have been married for 12 years. They have a son and daughter who are full of life and joy. Lee Ann has written for Wiregrass Living for 9 years and is the Communications Director for Wiregrass Church. Lee Ann and her family attend Wiregrass Church where she and Jonathan serve in student ministry.