A week from today is Christmas Eve and I want to share with you a relatively new tradition in our home. I think this Christmas Eve will be our tenth year to prepare a Nativity Tray, which is a medieval English custom.
I first read about it in, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I thought it was such a wonderful thing to do and to me, it epitomizes the spirit of, “good-will toward men”.
If you have the Simple Abundance book you can read all about the Nativity Tray on the December 24 entry, for those of you who don’t here is part of what it says,
“…Legend has it that on the night of the nativity, whosoever ventures out into great snows bearing a succulent bone for a lost and lamenting hound, a wisp of hay for a shivering horse, a warm cloak for a stranded wayfarer, a garland of bright berries for one who has worn chains, a dish of crumbs for all huddled birds who thought their song was dead, and sweetmeats for little children who peer from lonely windows–whosoever prepares this simple abundant tray, ‘shall be proffered and returned gifts of such an astonishment as will rival the hues of the peacock and the harmonies of heaven’.”
For us, as with I’m sure, most of you, it’s not about what we may receive in return. It’s about the giving and the sharing, in a simple way, the true meaning of Christmas.
We usually put a bowl of birdseed, a pile of cut up apples, a dish of cranberries, a pile of torn up bread, peelings from the potatoes used to make the turkey dressing, a few cut up carrots and any other pieces of fruit or vegetable we have on hand…every Christmas morning we check the tray and without exception, it has always been empty.
Wishing you and those you love a very Merry Christmas filled with all things wonderful!