As a young child, our family had an Advent wreath and candles at home on the dining room table. The wreath was made of the lower branches of our Christmas tree, woven together with wire and adorned with gold and silver balls and brand new candles standing tall. We would come home from church and light the candle(s) of the day and one of us would read the short prayer we were given at church to use with our wreaths at home. Then we’d light the Christmas tree and watch the glow inside our home keep the darkness outside.
On Christmas Sunday, we added one more ritual to our Sunday. From the time I was 8 or 9 years old, (and could pronounce Quirinius), we would call a dear church member named Dotty. Dotty couldn’t drive after her husband died, so she missed hearing the Christmas story each year. So, we called Dotty and I read the Christmas story — Luke 2 — each year. It didn’t matter if I mis-pronounced something, or went too fast. Dotty loved getting that call. I called her every year until her last Christmas, a span of 25 years. I didn’t realize until much later just how much I loved making that phone call. Merry Christmas, Dotty.
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