My home has been transferred into a place of Christmas memories, although it took a few days to pull everything out of their boxes and decide where they are best displayed. The Rubbermaid containers temporarily remain in My Room, acting as plastic mountains for a kitty to explore.
Of course, the Charlie Brown tree always has to go in the corner of the dining room area... which is why we use a small, slender tree. It's humble beginnings are forgotten once it has been fully decorated. I could (and have) kept most of the other decorations in their boxes during the season but I must have a tree.
These past few mornings, I have enjoyed waking while the outside world knows only the light of the moon and stopping to plug in the tree lights, even before pushing the On button of the coffeemaker.
Christmas seems more... special... this year after many seasons of feeling deeply the pain of those no longer with us, whether due to a move, marriage, college, or having gone on to their Reward.
I'm not certain if I have mentally accepted the New Normal or if the peace is His gift... or most likely both... but I've found an inner joy this year which has been missing for awhile.
Perhaps the best lesson learned these past years is that Christmas... as with most everything in life... has more to do with my attitude than with circumstances. I admit it was easier to enter into the Seasonal Joy when my kids were young, health was taken for granted, and the larder was full. But I have, as St. Paul... learned to be content in all things.
I'm not sure how it happened but this year seems to be my English Christmas with seasonal tea, movies, and books so far providing a feeling of the Mother Country. Not all, of course, as I enjoy breakfast coffee and planned reading includes more than its' share of American authors and movies.
But last night the tree seemed to sparkle as I read Miss Read's Village Christmas (a small-ish novel but it makes one feel they are in an old English village), I sipped Candy Cane Lane tea, and laughed at All Creatures Great and Small which brings back fond memories of the 1970s drama (with its' subtle British humor).
Is life perfect now? Oh, far from it for the larder is low, the bank account laughable, and the grandchildren far away (they tried traveling here for Christmas... once... only once... 1,000 miles in winter with five children is not conducive to a Happy ho, ho, ho).
But this year God has given the gift of His Presence, only possible when we find peace with His will for our life. That is not easy and it is not painless... but when we say "Thy will be done"... He can bring the Joy in desert places. As I've often said,