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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Quiet & Merry

Some observations this Christmas season:

There is a quiet beauty to snow falling on Christmas Eve.

Christmas trees, late in the evening and early in the morning have a quiet beauty about them.
A simple strand or two of lights outlining the front door adds a feel of merriment unmatched by the largest display of flashing lights and figurines synched to music.

One of the merriest things I saw was the small table at work crowded with the little gifts adorned with ribbons and bows co-workers spontaneously gave to each other, creating a kind of small cookie exchange.
Christmas cards strung along the ceiling of a living room create a merry decoration.

A congregation gathered together on a Sunday afternoon to share their musical talents informally is both quietly beautiful and quite merry.
The story of Christ’s birth has a quiet beauty all its own.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Ones Who've Gone

The ones that we love who have gone on before
Are missed so much more at this time
But I see them around in the things we hold dear
Our traditions, our food, and our minds.
All those who have gone to their Heavenly home
Sit round the table on each holiday
For their presence is felt, in a tangible way
As we bow our heads briefly to pray.
Their bodies are gone but they’re here nonetheless
In the stories we tell, childhood things we confess.
Take a look and you’ll find they are all still around
In your heart they can always be found.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Past

As the Christmas season begins I can’t help but reflect upon Christmases past.  One of my earliest memories, though vague, is of being very happy to have received a “Ridem’ Fifi” toy, which was a pink plastic ride on poodle. (Can you imagine that?!)  I don’t really remember other specific toys I received, but rather impressions of how Christmas was.  My mother always baked massive quantities of cookies, many of which were given as gifts to teachers.   We did Christmas crafts together; I still have one ornament that I hang on the tree every year.  Other projects included paper chains, tin foil chains, decorating stockings, and my favorite thing was painting Christmas scenes and symbols on the windows with poster paints.  With four kids, our tiny living room was full of people all the time and extra full with a decorated tree and piles of gifts crammed into one corner.

Christmas morning was a frenzy of squeals, laughter, and wrapping paper flying as we ripped into the treasures.  Hot chocolate and Christmas Stollen were staples on the big morning in our house.  After that we’d pack up the stuffed turkey my mother had cooked all night and go to our grandparents’ house an hour away.  Although we were sad to have to leave our new toys, it was nice to be in my grandparents’ warm house which smelled of dinner, the different perfumes of the assembled women, my father’s pipe smoke, and burning wood from the furnace in the old farm house.  What a beautiful gift it was indeed to have been surrounded by the love of family on Christmas, and to have these memories.