Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas reading and watching

I am sitting here typing away by the light of the tree while The Bishop's Wife is playing on the old Sony TV. I love old movies. They show us a reflection of the culture that was while we live in... that which is.

My theology assures me God places His people in time and space and in the years in which He wants them to live. I also know there was no perfection in the past... but times were different. I cringe at modern television as my senses are assaulted by the unexpected, which definitely becomes more defiled each year.

Recently Christopher and I were watching Father Goose (another Cary Grant favorite)... well, he was watching as I was cooking in the kitchen. He remarked how that film couldn't be made today due to the changes in attitudes toward women. I told him there were a lot of old films which would not make sense today.

One of my favorite films is Three Coins In a Fountain and I've often thought if it were made today, it would be completely different than the original for that reason... the changes in society. I'm certain my Casablanca would not be nearly as innocent and endearing and I wonder if the ending would be the same for giving up one's own happiness for that of one's country (much yet, another country) is rare these days.

This is a reason I love being at home, in the light of the Christmas tree. Within the four walls of our sanctuary, we can create a world that is not perfect... but more like what we would want life to be. It is different with each one of us but for me sanctuary is provided in many ways... not the least of these are the bookshelves filled with beloved volumes as well as those friends I hope to make. I developed a love for British novels about ten years ago and finding a favorite author at library sales is a much anticipated joy.

I did not grow up with fine china and silver serving pieces but I've always found them beautiful. I would open the pages of Victoria each month in the 1990's and peruse the lovely pages. Little by little I developed a style all my own combining my love for "country" with English Refinement... which I later came to realize as English Country.

Just because I was not raised in refinement, did not mean I could not create an atmosphere in my own home... with more patience than money. The most I ever paid for a silver piece was $25.00 for the complete silver service and tray long ago at an antique mall. It was tarnished but polished up just fine. My cheapest... $1.00 for a pair of beautiful silver plated Paul Revere candlesticks, purchased at a garage sale because an elderly lady decided she didn't want to polish it. :)

Just this past week I brought two Christmas DVDs home from the library and yesterday my husband and I watched our favorite Good Neighbors Christmas episode. Later I curled up with another British TV show. How wonderful are videos, DVDs, and library lending. Since I must be "in town", anyway... the trip to the library didn't even call for extra gas being used in the car.

We plan an evening of watching White Christmas very soon. Some of my favorite Christmas movies are silly but I still love them, especially Smoky Mountain Christmas with Dolly Parton. Our favorite scene is with the late John Ritter. It is on TV tonight and I'm already planning on making sugar free hot chocolate and popping some popcorn. :)

I almost finished the Elizabeth Goudge Christmas book before it had to be returned to the library. It was delightful. In the past I have enjoyed the Miss Read Christmas volumes, too. I think my favorite Christmas novel is Jan Karon's Shepherd's Abiding. One need not have read the other books in the Mitford series to enjoy this story. I can hardly believe an entire year has gone by since I read White Christmas Pie by Wanda Brunstetter. It was enjoyable and light reading, just what I needed at the time.

I'm half way through Phyllis Tickle's little book called What the Land Already Knows; Winter's Sacred Days. It is being used as my devotional reading at the moment. With my Amazon credit this month, I ordered a couple books which cost about a dollar from used book sellers (the postage was much more). The book which has already arrived is The Beautiful Ache; Finding the God Who Satisfies When Life Does Not by Leigh McLeroy. I remember reading about it on another blog long ago because the title sounded intriguing. It is now on the stack of books to be read on the coffee table.

Sigh... dishes are soaking in hot, soapy water and the buzzer on the dryer just sounded. Tonight I will watch a movie and read a book but in the meantime... miles to go before I sleep. :)


DarcyLee said...

Isn't it wonderful that God created the home, the place that we can make a sanctuary and a haven away from the world that can be so harsh at times?

Barb said...

I couldn't agree with you more - you have such a beautiful way of saying what I am thinking! I am going to see a community play of "White Christmas", at a beautiful old dinner theater on Friday, I can hardly wait, it's one of my favorites also. Thanks for reminding me that home is truly where the heart is. Blessings, Barb

Mary said...

Have you read the Christmas Mouse by Miss Read? It is my favorite holiday book!

Anonymous said...

Oh, the music is lovely! Many of your favorites are mine, too. I'm feeling sorry for those who don't have a sanctuary in the home. The sentiments are very comforting. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy hearing about the books you are reading and the movies, too!

Friend Debra

hmsclmom said...

I love the movie "Father Goose". It is one of my all time favorites. :) It's funny because my husband and I were just talking about it the other day. I will have to check and see if my library has a copy of it I can borrow. :)
It's funny but my 20 year old son is home for a few more days on leave from the Air Force before he heads to Germany for a 2 year stint. When I asked him what movie he wanted to watch "White Christmas" was his top pick. :) He grew up watching it and I think it brings back wonderful memories and comfort for him.


Brenda Leyland said...

You know, Brenda, reading your posts are a little like getting a 'letter from home'.... newsy, interesting glimpses of various aspects of your life and feelings...... very enjoyable.

I love The Bishops's Wife... haven't watched it yet this year... but it's waiting........

And English Country... definitely my favourite too.

Glad you are enjoying your beautiful world!

Hugs, Brenda

Anonymous said...

Did you know that Miss Read just published a new book? Christmas at Thrush Green. Only available in England as yet, but over here soon. I can't remember if I posted a note to you about it or not.


scrappy quilter said...

What a wonderful post. We love watching old movies too. Our tv is now gone and we probably won't replace it. Just too much garbage on it. How times have changed. Hugs

Kimberly said...

I love rereading Mitford in the fall and ending up with Shepherd's Abiding around the beginning of Advent. :)
Sounds like a lovely time.

We've been doing Advent and our Jesse Tree with the boys and loving those quiet moments sharing with them why we celebrate Christmas. I love it. We are making memories.

Like you, I did not grow up this way, but have chosen it for my family. Have a lovely week.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen "Holiday Inn" with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire? I watched it the other night with a friend while the guys were out of town, as well as "Christmas in Connecticut" with Barbara Stanwyck. Look for these if you haven't seen them-they are "must sees" every year at my house. :)

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Your home should be your sanctuary. The Tickle book is next on my list already; glad to see your mention. C

Mrs.Rabe said...

I am headed to my bookshelf - one of many - you have inspired me to reread "Shepherd's Abiding" by Jan Karon.

I love to sit and read by the tree as well....Our home is our haven as well, I so agree with you about how we can create the atmosphere we want for our families...inspite of "what is out there."

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hello Brenda,

Lovely post, as always. I too enjoy "The Bishop's Wife" very much!! I watch it over and over again as I wrap gifts and bake during the holidays. It's wonderful background company. Oh, and just yesterday I came across "Smoky Mountain Christmas" on television! I remember seeing it when it first was made and thought it such a fun and charming little story, I'm glad you mentioned it. That being said, "It's a Wonderful Life" is my perennial favorite, of course. In fact, there is an old movie house down the street that is playing it this week on their big screen. We have a family movie night date to see it.
Thank you so much for your cozy and thought provoking posts. They are always welcome reading.

Tracey xox

Marie said...

I enjoy reading books by Wanda Brunstetter. I am going to have to check to see if they have that at our library. I love the old movies--they just are made like that today.

Lady-in-the-Making said...

"This is a reason I love being at home, in the light of the Christmas tree. Within the four walls of our sanctuary, we can create a world that is not perfect..."

I loved the above comment. It is so true. 'The Bishop's Wife' is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I strive to have my home look as though it came out of the 1940's. That's just me. I never saw or experienced it as a child. It's what says "home" to me. What a beautiful post!

Debra said...

Such a lovely, inspiring post! Blessings, Debra

Anonymous said...

I love the old movies as well. The morals were just different. There are very few "new" Christmas movies I enjoy, with the exception of "The Christmas Box (with Maureen O'Hara)from the 1990's.
I always enjoy your posts.

Ms. PJ Geek said...

I just watched "Christmas in Connecticut" for the first time last year and think fondly back to how much I enjoyed watching the simple, sweet black and white film as much for the experience as for enjoyment of the film . I had just looked ahead for the turner classic movie channel TCM and AMC to see when old holiday movies were coming on so I could record them . I'm looking forward to some comfort with sugar free hot cocoa and popcorn myself. I was watching the weather reports and saw snow coming to the midwest and thought of you and your family . Hope you can stay safe inside.

Emily said...

Home as a sanctuary is such an apt depiction of what it should be. We have been doing our Advent devotions every morning before lessons, with corresponding activities throughout the day....all within the realm of our cozy little home, our refuge. We watched White Christmas the other night and are looking forward to The Bishop's Wife and Christmas in Connecticut along with many other favorites. We have amassed quite the collection of Christmas films over our almost twenty years together. Two others we enjoy are The Shop Around the Corner starring Jimmy Stewart, and The Man Who Came to Dinner (simply hilarious). I'm glad you mentioned Shepherds Abiding; there it sits on my bookshelf and I had completely forgotten it!

Anonymous said...

You are sure right that the old beautiful movies would not be politically correct now. No wonder some of the young women today don't believe that those old days of most Mommys at home and Daddys at work were real. Since we lived that life we know how the good old days were good. I too love the old movies[and times] where people treated each other with respect. Where decency was the norm. Jody