Why do we do what we do at Christmas?

Rev. Ken Jones Revelstoke United Church
Rev. Ken Jones
Revelstoke United Church

Christmas seems to come faster every year.

This year I have been thinking more and more about the whys of life: Why do we do what we do? Why is it that Christmas seems to be encroaching on not Halloween but Thanksgiving? Do we even know why we do what we do, or are we just swept along for the ride, and does it even matter?

As I think of this I am reminded of the story of the family Christmas dinner and the famous ham.

The ham recipe has been handed down for generations and always produces the most delicious ham. This Christmas the eldest child decides it’s time to get the family secret so she too can carry on the tradition before it is lost. She asks her mom. “How do you make such a delicious ham?” To which her mom says “I cut the end off and I always have a delicious ham.” “Why do that. How does that make a delicious ham?” the daughter retorts. To which the mother replies, “My mother always cut off the end of the ham and we always had a good ham. Maybe if you ask her she could tell you.”

The young woman approaches Grandma and asks. “I hear the secret to the great ham is to cut the end off and I am puzzled. Why would you do that and how does that make it taste so good.”

To which the grandmother replies “Well my mother cut the end of the ham off and we always had great ham so I did that too. Your great grandma is here too why not ask her.”

Finally maybe she will have her answer. Great grandma was hard of hearing but she finally got the message through to her: “GREAT GRANDMA THE GREAT HAMS WE HAVE AT CHRISTMAS IS YOUR RECIPE. WHY DID YOU CUT THE ENDS OFF? HOW DOES THAT MAKE IT TASTE SO GOOD?” To which great grandma replied. “Oh you sweet thing. I always cut the end off because the ham was too big for the pan.”

Why do we light candles?… to drive the darkness away and it seems to work after Dec 21st every year.

Why do we have Christmas trees for the birth of a baby? To remind us that even in the death of winter there is life and spring will come.

Why do we hang stockings? They were hung there to dry and St. Nicolas who in some traditions put treats in shoes outside children’s doors on Dec 6 might also have taken advantage of socks hanging by the fire.

Do we need to know all these and more about are traditions of is it enough just to enjoy the season for as long as it lasts?

Merry Christmas to you all.
Ken Jones