Mystery, Love, Friendship

Yule Love It Lavender Chicks tour Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit
As the Advent season closes upon us, I hear three voices of Christmas tradition: mystery, God’s love, and friendship. After two thousand years, we still gather to grasp the incarnation—God with us. We are drawn unawares by the power of our Father’s love to worship His Son. That we do in many fashions.
My earliest memory of mystery is Christmas Eve. My father convinced my sisters and me that he saw Santa and his reindeer flying over the housetops across the street. We hurried off to bed in our new pajamas so Santa could land on our rooftop with gifts.
Did I feel betrayed when I discovered differently? No. I knew my father loved me. Rather, his sense of imagination and mystery ignited mine. As I matured and learned the Gospel, the Santa mystery gave way to believe the mystery of Christ’s birth.
When I was twelve-years-old, a week before Christmas, Mom led me into the bedroom where my newborn sister slept in her crib. I knew my mother’s tender love for me and her baby was God’s love. 
            Granny had come from Kentucky to help Mom with household chores. That Christmas my new sister and grandmother’s kinship planted a life-long hunger for fellowship at Christmastime.
Accordingly, my husband and I raised our children in the Christmas traditions of our blended childhoods. I added my own ideas, one being a Christmas mystery drive downtown Detroit or someplace else to see the lights.
            This tradition lay fallow too long after my children left the nest. Then came the friendship of my farm advisors and staff, two remarkable tribes of women who also love a good mystery. I resurrected the Christmas Mystery Trip in 2008 and eventually blended the two groups into one.
This December our Yule Love It Christmas Mystery Trip began with breakfast and poetry at the farm. Then we boarded a passenger van for a city tour of Detroit: the Trinity Lutheran Church on Gratiot, River Walk, Belle Isle Conservatory, Guardian Building, Traffic Jam for lunch, and the Historic Saint Anne de Detroit Church.
Dear Reader, it is the incense of mystery, God’s love, and friendship that arise from this tradition. They are the same three voices that speak in the following poems.         
On this cold yet clear Thursday morn
I hear a rap on the glass
She explained that she was torn
As she stood there, this lady with class

She said on this day 
so cold and hard
I can't rent this van, by the way
without a credit card

At the counter she stood
Wondering what to do
So she pulled up her hood
And said . . . I will stop and see Sue

The spirit of Christmas shows 
Through in the end
It just made me glow 
To help a dear friend
By Susan Balabuch 

He always wanted one color lights
My friends’ trees were Christmasy bright
Our tree was blue
Daddy I miss you
By Marilyn Dean

I'm a chocolate girl
so t'was a surprise
falling in love with mother's 
butterscotch pie.
By Diana Dinverno

Steaming cup of Earl Grey slips
Through tired hands onto chair and lap
Begets a scarlet stomach map
But, ice and cold return Christmas cheer.
By Debbi Forbes

For her Christmas was mostly a chore
she bought obligatory gifts, we'd sign the tags
she wrapped 'til wee hours, the last a dash
to get a tree, often scraggly, always real
lights untangled, ornaments hung, tinsel placed
not tossed, then, with all other lights off
color and shadows came and filled the quiet
with our Christmas.
By Kim Geralds

A star over Bethlehem
announced the Light of the world.
A season of lights
applauds the Hope of the world.
By MaryEllen Hammarland

Little Elke, three, standing by the Christmas tree
Dress in red, bow in hair, poem said,
But nervous hands rolling up and down dress’ hem
Showing white tights, what a sight
Applause, applause, relieved, curtsied, face smiling with glee.
By Erna Hermann 

Ten hour work day, but,
His promise he keeps.
Christmas tree goes up,
Below it Dad sleeps.
By Sharlene Innes 

Christmas cards with Oplateki from Poland
White wafer for breaking
White wafer for sharing
Christmas tradition of family and spirit.
 By Yolanda Kaminski