Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I have always loved Christmas, the glitz and the glitter and the wonderment and the magic (Narnia magic ya' know).  There's just something about the Season which differs from any other time of the year.

Certainly it has as much to do with Whose birthday we celebrate and the fact that... although there are those who attempt to take Christ out of Christmas... they cannot.

Especially in the hearts of those who worship Him as Savior and Lord.  They forget we do not worship a religion but instead we fellowship with the One whom they reject.

My husband's brother stopped by our home recently, on his way to their hometown near Chicago.  He had business which needed attending before the start of his busiest time of the year.  For he is a social worker and the Holidays bring about the most depression.  I am not surprised, having realized in my own life that my joys are enhanced as are any sorrows during the Christmas season.

This is one of those years in which I find myself entering the Season in a rather Bah Humbug mood.  The weather has not helped as we've experienced days of heavy, cold, windy rains that turned to snow... which surprised us as we left our friend's home on Thanksgiving (where we had a lovely time together).  Thankfully, the snow and ice had stopped before Christopher drove home much later.

However, I learned long ago not to let my emotions control what I decide to do about this (usually) favorite time of year.  I remember a very difficult December many years ago ... when... during a quiet time... I felt that nudge of God reminding me that these are my children's Good Old Days.

I didn't want either of my children ever to remember Christmas with Mom depressed and cranky due to circumstances.  Instead I desired their memories to be those of God at work in the difficult years and how it didn't take much money to enjoy the wonderment of the Season.  A good lesson to learn then and remember each year since my husband had to go on S. S. Disability.

After all, it doesn't cost much to make cookies or cinnamon rolls to enjoy by the light of the tree and a simple hot chocolate made with Hershey's cocoa and milk.  We always had plenty of Christmas decorations to take out of boxes, making the house look festive and bright (which cost nothing but time).

Now that the family is dispersed and dispersing, some no longer with us and others far away, how relieved I am that I chose... knowing there was a moment of choosing... to get over my lack of happiness and embrace... joy... and hope... even if it meant the doing before the feeling.

So... whatever my feelings at the time... my actions were to put on Christmas music and decorate and watch Holiday movies and bake cookies and make candy for gifts and unpack boxes containing... sparkle.  Each year memories returned as ornaments and decorations were removed from tissue paper... memories of places we lived and people we loved.

So often just a morning spent in a cozy kitchen making bread or assembling a stew while listening to Christmas music on the radio would bring a smile.  There is something about adversity which brings with it the appreciation of simple delights... a true gift from God.

I can't remember any Christmas in which my mood did not lift at least a little once the tree was decorated and I would awaken before anyone else in the house, take my coffee to a chair or sofa, and enjoy a quiet time by the light of the tree.

Now I must take leave as I (still in a bit of a downward mood) watch The Muppet Christmas Carol (which is playing on the television) and make some hot chocolate.  How can anyone feel sad with Kermie and Miss Piggy and chocolate?


Anonymous said...

Hi Brenda,
I so enjoy your posts,you are so honest in what you say. there is a lot of sadness around this time of year as well as happiness and it is good to let that out so others know they aren't the only ones. also it is good to knw that things can brighten up if you just make the most of things and keep on keeping on. it takes extra effort but is worth it as how you face the bad times can inspire others. I fel that I know you and I wish you well. Ann

matty said...

The Slough of Despair is deep, but you have a Light and a Helper to guide you as you claim that Delectable Mountain to Him. May you feel joy this first day of Advent!

Wishing you hugs, a cuppa of your favorite tea, and a warm snuggle from a purring companion,


Mrs.Rabe said...

This can be such a hard time of year, and yet I think you are on the right track. To keep looking to the ONE and to keep enjoying the specialness of the season.

Perhaps in the future the Lord will allow you to live closer to Stephanie and the grandkids. We don't live far from my parents (they moved to our area about 12 years ago) but are now making plans for them to add an inlaw quarters onto our home.

Thank you for your posts that cause us all to pause and think. Knowing your situation causes me to be sensitive to others around me who may be experiencing similar circumstances, oh, and just to live more simply. That is such a blessing to me - you are a blessing to me. I am thankful for you Brenda!

Katherine ( Katie) Corrigan said...

A lovely post. May the joy of Christmas fill your heart and lift your smile. Big hugs!
P.S> My tree is decorated and Christmas has officially begun at our house. My spirits are already lifting.

Vee said...

Not for long, won't last for long. You always share such wonderful, specific ways for us to focus on the important things.

Fixing My Thoughts said...

We can all learn much from the truths found in your post today, Brenda. To keep Christ in our hearts throughout the season is #1, and then it is so true that at times we have to "do" even when we don't feel like it. Many times a positive action has displaced a negative mood for me. So grateful for you blog. Bess

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a lovely, thoughtful post.

I really like your thoughts on 'choosing'. This is so important for me to remember. Even if the doing comes before the feeling.

May you enjoy some extra special moments this Christmas season.


Lori in PA

hmsclmom said...

What a wonderful post full of wisdom. I too love Christmas and am delighting in the decorating of our home once again this year. Last year was the first year of my son Josh being away in the Air Force and I scaled everything back because I just was having such a hard time coping without having all my children here. This year he is once again overseas in Germany and I am missing him terribly but I know that life does go on and I can still enjoy this season while still having my teary moments and it's ok to feel that way. As I decorated the big tree this y ear I did not put up any of the childrens ornaments. I opted to have a tree filled with vintage glass ornaments and a few hand blown ones as well. My son Chris was given a bag full of his ornaments that we and his grandparents had presented him with over the years so that he and his new wife could add them to their tree. My other 2 sons have opted to have me keep their ornaments here until they too get married. I started something new this year and put up a little pre-lit tree in the bathroom and decorated it. I thought it would be a nice surprise for guests and be so pretty to look at when I took a long bath whiole istening to Christmas carols on the cd player I also have in there. Money is tight once again but we have been planning and buying gifts for Christmas all year long and have almost all of them taken care of already.

Be blessed Brenda and continue to enjoy this wonderful season full glitter and love.


Heather said...

I am glad that you know your way out of the Christmas blues - it seems that already many are stressed and strained by the pressure of the season and are missing the blessings! I keep praying that those I encounter with long faces and sad eyes will find the true beauty in knowing Christ as their Saviour - not just at Christmas, but for eternity!

TheNormalMiddle said...

I have had clinical depression for three years. At times it has been almost debilitating. So I can so resonate with this post. Sometimes it is about DOING before FEELING. Sometimes the feeling follows, sometimes not. But it is always worth trying if you can.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous holiday background!

Bretts Mom (thats wow upsidedown) said...

I found your blog from a friend & recognize the china immediately! I have the same pattern of my Grandmother Siemens. My Grama was a coffee drinker, not tea, so what I have is the coffee, not the tea pot, in the china cabinet that Grampa made for her. They've both gone HOME now, so having her china a precious reminder of the christian heritiage I received, and care to pass along to my family. Thank you for posting with the picture of your china. It warms my heart!!

Mrs. V. said...

Thank you for this post. You worded so aptly how I have been feeling but didn't quite know how to express it. We are going through a time of such trial with my daughter's health and I'll tell you - the last thing I felt like doing was decorating for Christmas. But like you said, these are their good old days! And I know my daughter and son deserve wonderful holiday memories. So the house is now adorned and Christmas festivities have begun. These are such important little details of life for our children. Now, I have some hot chocolate to go fix! :-)

Christy@WickedHappy said...

Thinking of you this holiday season! May it be filled with God's blessings & a time of happiness for you and your family.

Kimberly said...

gotta love the muppets