November’s theme for the month is What does it mean to be a people of Memory? In some ways, what we remember shapes who we are and what matters most to us. As we turn toward the last two months of the year, full of holidays, I am also drawn to thinking about how our shared memories connect us to our families. It can be a busy time, heading into the holiday season and the busy-ness can be overwhelming if we lose sight of our priorities.
One memory that speaks to me in these dark fall and winter months is of Christmas. In my childhood, we had a very specific tradition for Christmas day. We would open presents in the morning (often after my grandpa cooked a nice breakfast) and then we’d spend the day playing together. Lunch was a simple meal, leftovers or sandwiches, and then for dinner we’d have spaghetti. It was perhaps the most un-Christmas of dinners. It also required almost no time for preparation, and that was the point. My mom’s memory of Christmas was that her mother spent most of her day in the kitchen, while the rest of the family played and hung out together. When my parents were deciding how they would do holidays, my mom wanted to avoid that because she wished that her mom could have participated in the fun. So, that’s how spaghetti came to be my family’s tradition.
What memories are precious to you? How do your priorities show up in the memories you have and the choices you make? As we move into November, I hope you find some moments of rest and ease and times to play.