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Notes from the country -- Keeping a Christmas tradition Print
Guest column
Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008 -- 3:45 PM

I would like to share with you a special Christmas tradition from our family. It goes back as far as I can remember.

Guest Column

My mother was a wonderful baker, especially at Christmas time. She would spend the weeks before Christmas diligently turning out one wonderful confection after the other.

Finally, when every horizontal surface in the house had been covered with sweets, it was time to box them up and take them to friends and neighbors. Mom would package them up complete with a bow on top, then stand back and admire her labor of love. It was always Christmas Eve before she was truly finished.

Now it was my job to deliver all these packages of goodness to anyone within walking distance. I would load up my sled and set out for the furthest of the deliveries. As I walked down the country road, I often admired the snow formations in the fields, the glisten of the snow on the trees in the woods, and the smell of wood burning in the fireplaces.

It was truly a magical time of the year.

As the day went on, I saw smiles and heard heartfelt "thank you's" from the people receiving the treats. I always seemed to get a warm feeling in my heart (and a cold feeling in my feet).

As the years went on, this special tradition was lost. We had just all moved on.

Last year, as the hustle and bustle of the holiday season was getting me down, I decided to bring that tradition back, only this time I was doing the baking and delivering.

I learned it was not easy to live up to Mom's abilities. Soon enough, though, I was out delivering cookies and candies to friends and neighbors. (This time in a car with heat.)

I started getting that warm feeling again, that feeling you can only get from sharing a labor of love.

Our wonderful tradition taught me about the graces that God bestows on those who take time to care about those around us.

So this Christmas season, remember the labor of love God sent to us. When things are getting a little crazy among all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, make time to share a labor of love. It doesn't matter how big or small. God will warm your heart, with warmth that is good and lasts all winter long.

Have a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year.

"Notes from the Country" is a column provided by the Rural Life Office of the Diocese of Madison. Jim Wanke, a member of St. Lawrence Parish in Jefferson, is a Diocesan Rural Life Network representative.