Thursday, December 1, 2011

Journey to Bethlehem Dinner

I'll probably end up reposting this idea every year in December- just because it's been such a meaningful, unique tradition for my family for so many years.  

A lot of people try to imagine what the first Christmas must have been like. Not as often, I imagine, do people think about what the first Christmas Eve was like. One of my family's Christmas traditions centers around that very idea.

Every year since I was little, my family has held a "Journey to Bethlehem" dinner on Christmas Eve when we think about Joseph and Mary's long trip before Jesus was born. We try to only eat foods that would have been available to them at that time and that people might be likely to eat when they are traveling and don't have time for a lot of preparation. For example, figs, dates, olives, goat cheese, nuts, grape juice, dried meat.

We also turn off all of the electric lights and use only candles and lanterns for the rest of the evening. Not only are the lanterns a good reminder of Mary and Joseph, but they also set a certain atmosphere that is very conducive to family-togetherness. Usually, after we are done reading the Christmas story from the Bible and sing some Christmas hymns, we spend the rest of the dinner talking about old family memories. It's always a special time.

A couple of years when all of us kids were little, we actually filled the basement with straw and slept on it overnight. Now THAT was a memory- very messy clean-up afterward though, as I remember!

13 comments:

Mara said...

That is hilarious!!!! I love it.

Amy said...

What a great idea. I would think using candles would really emphasize the reverence and importance of the night. Thanks for sharing!

MommySecrets said...

I love your idea - what a great way to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas and strengthen family relationships!

I don't think we could do the hay - we'd be sneezing for days!!!

Daily Comics said...

Oh my goodness - how incredible. I am trying to think how I can do this - i love it. I don't think my husband will go for the hay. He can stand the hay I use for my fall decor, let alone bring it in the house - but a memory for sure - thanks for letting me visit your blog!
www.andigooch.blogspot.com

Kendra said...

That dinner is a great idea. And I am so impressed you were willing to go through the hassle of bringing in all of that hay! I bet the kids will always remember that!

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

For the first time is several years we will be having Christmas at home by ourselves. I love this idea of having a "Journey to Bethlehem" meal on Christmas Eve! It will be fun to try.

Mara said...

That is hilarious!!!! I love it.

Daily Comics said...

Oh my goodness - how incredible. I am trying to think how I can do this - i love it. I don't think my husband will go for the hay. He can stand the hay I use for my fall decor, let alone bring it in the house - but a memory for sure - thanks for letting me visit your blog!
www.andigooch.blogspot.com

Debbie said...

I love this idea and so does my dear hubby! We'll be doing it this year. Thank you for sharing. We've been looking for a way to make this Christmas Eve and Christmas morning extra special since we moved away from both of our familes and all our past traditions have included them. It was sad for the kids to think that our traditions would be gone, but you've given us a beautiful way to make new memories! Thanks

Having Fun at Home said...

How wonderful!  Thank you for telling me.  I'm excited that you'll be doing it!

christyisrc said...

Hands down - you have one uber cool mother. Eating the meal - great, sleeping on hay - over the top fun!!!

Carissa Bonham said...

Sleeping in the straw cracks me up but is an idea that is full of awesome!

Traci said...

Love it! We did the same thing last year and are planning on making it a tradition every year. I found this site while searching for more food ideas, and I like your addition of turning the lights off and singing hymns. Thanks for the help! Merry Christmas! :)