Traditions are very important to folks in our community – traditions of celebration, creativity, and remembrance. At a time, still, of uncertainty and COVID fatigue, our special holiday traditions keep us busy and excited.
One of the most important traditions in our community is "McKimmas" – Christmas at McKim House, which occurred last week. It begins with McKimmas Eve, a special evening of singing carols, sipping hot chocolate, and telling stories about friends near and far.
McKimmas Eve is an evening of celebration and remembrance, reminding us of the dozens of folks who have played an important role in our community. Each person that has celebrated McKimmas with us has a stocking with their name on it. Many of these people have gone on to do other and great things, live in different countries around the world, and some have passed away.
One by one, stocking by stocking, we take turns sharing fond memories of that person. Even when the years zip by, and people come and go: we remember you, and that funny moment, that one time, when...
Then, on McKimmas morning, we find our stockings filled with little surprises.
A new tradition in our community is a baking competition known as the Great L’Arche Bake Off (Holiday Edition). The judges for the bake off were the core members living at McKim House, who took the task very seriously.
I was struck by the creativity of Megan, a live-in assistant, who made a short video of the competition.
As always, we have much to learn from the members in our community with whom we share our daily lives with. They teach us how to be authentic, no matter the circumstances. Being in front of a camera does not change their authenticity.
I loved the moment when Sarah judged the squares that I prepared. When Megan, behind the camera, asked if Sarah liked the squares, her answer was an emphatic “NO.” Now I know how I’ll be spending my holidays – in the kitchen, improving the recipe for my squares.
We have so much to be thankful for this year. As we move into 2022, it is my hope that we will continue to amplify the voices of people with intellectual disabilities, from whose teachings and wisdom we can all learn from.
On behalf of L’Arche Saint John, I wish you and your family a safe and peaceful holiday season.
Community Leader/Executive Director