My mother had a buffet, a gift from Dad, in the dining room of the house where I spent seventeen years of my life. Under the lid on the left side was a turntable. Mom had a modest but intentional collection of vinyl records, all her favorites. The ones I loved the most were the Christmas records: Elvis, Andy Williams, Doris Day, Burl Ives, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Robert Goulet. We would always listen to them as we decorated the tree the first weekend after Thanksgiving, and we would listen to them almost daily on the days and weeks leading up to Christmas.
I got my first CD player when I was sixteen. I would happily listen to my CD collection all year, but when that last week of November rolled around, I insisted that Mom break out the vinyl records and play them on the buffet turntable. Christmas was the one time of year that I could not tolerate change of any kind. If we deviated from the silver icicle tinsel, or the blue lights in the windows, or my aunt Kay’s chipped beef cheese ball and Triscuits on Christmas Eve, or Mom’s fruit salad, or Dad’s miniature houses on the mantel, or those vinyl records — well, it hardly seemed like Christmas at all. Christmas was the one time of year when I counted on the world to stop spinning on its axis and just be.
Tradition, in some inexplicable way, stops time, even if only for a short while. There’s something sacred and comforting about crawling inside the familiar and, even if for a moment, hiding from the noise and chaos that inevitably accompanies change. And, when I finally re-emerge, I am better able to accept — and even embrace — change, because I am reminded that all change springs from the same Root.
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun. — Ecc. 1:9 (NIV)