Every year since we’ve moved into this house we’ve hosted a “Nazareth Supper” at our house and every year I think, this may be the last time we pack so many people into this small space for this wacky tradition, but every year I’m wrong. We’re still here. And at this point I’m not sure things would feel quite as great in a different space. This little living room of ours is so packed with memories of this dinner with these same friends.
For those of you who are saying to yourselves, “what in the heck are they doing?” here’s a brief explanation. Every Christmas Eve since I can remember my family sat down to what we called a “Jerusalem Supper” (we changed the name to Nazareth since it was a little more accurate). We ate fish and figs and pita bread and all dressed up as characters from the nativity/bible and re-enacted what we imagined to be a dinner Mary and Joseph may have had with their family and friends before embarking on the long journey to Bethlehem. My mom and dad always played Mary’s parents and did a thorough interrogation of Joseph – why are you taking her all that way? do you have lodging set up? do you think that the baby will be born while you’re away? do you have a sturdy donkey? Of course Mary always tells her story, Elizabeth and Zachariah and baby John are usually there along with a smattering of guests that changes every year. We’ve had shepherds and fishermen and turtle dove salesmen come, ancient prophets somehow arrive from old testament times, angles grace us with their presence. Mary's friends or midwives sometimes chime in their perspectives, Cesar Augustus was even there this year to make sure we were all going to pay our taxes. Growing up we sat at a candlelit table, but since we don’t have the space we’ve made it even more authentic by sitting us all on cushions on the floor. We eat the yummiest falafel and cumin potatoes on plates I got while studying in Jerusalem. All by the light of the tree and the fire and a few candles. It’s not the most comfortable meal and sure, there’s a whole lot of speculation going on. Everyone certainly doesn’t take their roles too seriously and there is a big dose of silliness coming from the shepherds who can’t sit still, but it makes us all think and get into the heads and hearts of what happened that Christmas season so long ago. And it’s really really yummy food. (I’ll post the recipe one of these days). After dinner the kids run wild for a while while we get a little deeper into what really might have happened all those years ago and then we all join back together for cookies and carols. This is always the part of the night where it hits me: we have such good, cool friends. Our little home is so full of love, even if family are far away. Here’s what Emmeline and Grace were doing while we sang carols. Love those girls.
Can’t wait for next year.