Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Tea

This will be my last Sunday Afternoon Tea post for 2007 since I will be away from the computer next weekend. Where did this year go? It seems I was writing about my new Susan Branch calendar just recently and now I am looking at the last full week of the last month on that calendar. The older I get, the faster time seems to pass by me. So join me as I take down some of my favorite china tea cups from the cabinet and brew one of the spicy Christmas teas available this time of year. Perhaps I should make a batch of the pumpkin cookies, wouldn't they go together very nicely?

As with most people right now, I have been running last minute errands and doing a wee bit of shopping. Because I did much of my Christmas shopping during the year and most of my baking earlier in the month, there wasn't a lot that needed to be done this weekend. However, I wanted to purchase a couple small items for my daughter so I found myself at Tuesday Morning and my favorite gourmet store (sigh... I adore good quality kitchen equipment not to mention their "tea stuff").

To be honest, as much as I love Christmas, I'm usually ready for it to be over by Christmas Day proper. I realize it is the very Season of Christmas that I love but just as eating too much candy can make one jittery... too much Christmas can be... too much! Our mortal bodies can take only so much hoopla at one time.

Now I know this sounds strange but I've never thought of Christmas as a "spiritual" time as I know some people find it. I've known people who can really find deep worship during the Advent season. Perhaps it is because I didn't grow up in a Christian environment. I celebrate the birth of Christ and all it means, I appreciate time with family, I love the Beauty and the Grace which surrounds me this time of year. I have Christmas music playing continuously, enjoying every moment of the short Season for these CDs.

I decorate the house, wrap the presents, look for ways to give to others and bring joy each Season. I make some Christmas crafts and even read some Christmas books. I am thrilled when I find the "perfect" gift, especially since my list of people to whom I give "purchased" gifts are very few (and the gift may be found in August rather than December).

I enjoy those hours when I've gone through my recipes, donned the blue print vintage apron I wear when I bake, and become lost in flour and sugar, butter and eggs... with Bing singing White Christmas in the background. I even look forward to beginning preparations for our Christmas Feast even though it will be just the three of us on Christmas Day.

But I don't feel very spiritual.

So... is there something wrong with me spiritually? Well, I hope not. I don't think there is. Come Spring... as we get closer to Easter... I become much more reflective. To me, Easter (Resurrection Day) draws me inward and my thoughts are often on the work of the Risen Christ. If anything, Christmas can be a distraction to my morning quiet times.

Oh, there have been years when I was a little more "spiritual" than others. There were two Christmas mornings I spent with a newborn child and my thoughts were continuously on Mary... the teenage mother of the Saviour. There were a few years where the burden of trials were so great I hardly noticed it was December... much less Christmas. For these were the months I spent much time crying out to God for deliverance from circumstances threatening to crush me beyond what I thought I could handle.

I read through the Gospels, especially in Luke where the physician has written the account of the birth of Jesus. I remember He is truly the Reason for the Season. I say Merry Christmas to EVERYBODY and notice how I rarely hear anyone else say these words anymore. No, I'm definitely feeling the presence of our Lord during this time of great celebration.

But Christmas doesn't always make me feel... um... spiritual... or holy... or otherwise reflective. Not in normal years. Instead Christmas causes me to experience great anticipation. It is just a minuscule taste of the world when Christ rules and reigns... when Heavenly music is in the air and we see the angels whose presence we now only know by faith in His Word. Instead of gold Christmas ornaments, we will walk on streets of gold.

Advent directs us to a Birth... a time for great rejoicing. If you find yourself feeling less than spiritual these days, don't be too hard on yourself. The baby we celebrate at this season grew up and became the Lamb of God, sacrificed for you and for me, so we could accept His salvation of the Human Race. Now I don't know about you but that gives me cause for deep spiritual reflection.


EdibleEducation said...

I don't think that feeling especially "spiritual" around Christmas is necessary.

There is no Biblical grounds supporting the remembrance of Christ's BIRTH, only of His DEATH. Not only that - there is no evidence that December 25th was Christ's birthday - more likely that it was not.

So why should their be a necessity for feeling especially "spiritual" during this time?

Does this mean we cannot rejoice in Christmas? No. Does this mean others are wrong if they feel more spiritual around this time? No.

But I think you can rest assured that not feeling especially spiritual over Christmastime - does not mean anything one way or another.

I am not trying to be divisive about the Christmas issue - we celebrate it and are able to do it to the glory of God.

The important issue is your spirituality year-round.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

I love the idea that the entire world is gathered around this holiday. So many busy women! ;> The hustle and bustle of it alone would make us feel more like Marthas than Marys, I suppose. Also, we have such unreasonable expectations sometimes and, the last time I checked, this world is not our home. Suppose that we'll have to enjoy what we can, and leave the rest knowing that Christmas is not a day but a state of mind.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Sandpiper said...

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who doesn't always feel 'spiritual' around Christmas. I have been pregnant too(very pregnant!) during the Christmas season and thought alot about Mary. We've also had some very stressful Christmases where it was all I could do to 'hang on'. Christmas comes and goes whether we're feeling spiritual or not and it's sometimes in January when I'm able to 'be still' and reflect.

DebD said...

I'm not sure you're all that far off. Advent is a time of anticipating and waiting and this sounds like what you are doing/experincing. I think for me it comes and goes. The busy-ness of the season gets in the way and the things of God recede, then I am drawn back in by the daily prayers or Bible reading or Advent reflections. I think it is just the way it is living *in* the world but not being *of* it. I think many of us struggle.

My family was Christian but we did not celebrate Advent (or Lent for that matter). Our Christmases were very Worldly American, if that makes sense. Incorporating these traditions into my family have been VERY hard.

God bless. May you have a joyful and peaceful Christmas

Heather L. said...

Have a lovely Christmas, and a wonderful time with your daughter and grandchildren!!!!

I agree about not feeling exceedingly spiritual about Christmas. It is nice to know that Christmas is just one of "our" creations and not a Biblical institution we are "mandated" to feel spiritual about. Sundays are for that -- all year round -- for rejoicing each week anew in God's goodness to us in Christ. However, it is wonderful to be able to use Christmas as a way to be more open about Christ to those who normally aren't throughout the year. and it can be fun too .... :)

Mrs. Darling said...

Yep I defintiely feel more onto the spiritual side of things at Easter. Even the fourth of July feel more spiritual to me. Thers something about God Bless America that stirs up all my fierce feelings about God and His great plan for America and our founding fathers that fought for our freedom and boys who fell in wars past and present and the God who looks down at it all and continues to bless this great land of ours when we're so undeserving.

I love the babe in the manger but I love the Man Christ Jesus even more somehow. At Christmas my thoughts go more toward Mary than toward the baby. I cant comprehend what she must have felt knowing all that her baby was to go through. It staggers my mind!