Sunday, December 08, 2019
Sunday Afternoon Tea - Expectations
I was wide awake very early this morning. Normally, I would make some attempt to let sleep return but I remembered... the Christmas tree. I put on my red flannel robe, pushed the button on the coffee pot, and plugged in the tree lights.
Within minutes I was sitting in the recliner, sipping my first cup of coffee, with a cat curled up on my lap. This is what I needed. Silence. Sparkle. A warm kitty. Time to think about... expectations.
Last week you may remember, I had lost my Christmas spirit. The decorating had not begun and the Season was short this year. I had a long To Do list of other necessary work that was flying around in my mind. I had a difficult letter to write and there were the normal little foxes and a couple big shadows shifting around in the back recesses of my mind.
The next day, I wrote out a long list of "stuff needed done" and prioritized it. I had already made a list of those activities I wanted to do this Christmas season. There was no overlap in the two lists.
However, I started chipping away at the small stuff on the list of work needing to be accomplished. Before I knew it last week, quite a lot had been checked off the list. I felt I could breath again.
By mid-week, I pulled the containers out of the garage that held the Christmas decorations and the tree was put up, decorated, and tweaked to my liking. Eventually more favorite decorations were displayed and I could feel my joy return.
I remembered why I loved this time of year, seeing the memory filled tree ornaments, setting out the table top decorations, hanging a Christmas plaque or two, all came together to remind me of what I love about Christmas.
The Willow Creek Nativity, a birthday gift in July from a dear friend, was displayed on the hutch and the old Nativity now sits on a table on the front porch next to the door. The true meaning of Christmas... both inside and outside.
So what was I pondering at 5:00 on a Sunday morning? By the light of the Christmas tree? I was thinking about expectations and beauty and tradition and how they all come together at Christmas. Without them I feel empty.
I realized it is not wrong to have certain expectations that go along with my Christmas season. The Bible is full of days of remembrance and places of remembrance. My ornaments and decorations are reminders of people and places that have meant a lot to me throughout life.
The songs and the stories lead my thoughts Heavenward to that Day when all will be made new... by reminding me of the most important night the Universe has ever known. Silent Night. Holy Night. All is calm. All is bright.
Even the cooking and baking can have a special meaning this time of year when we think of loved ones as we prepare meals or remember friends and neighbors as the Kitchen Aid is mixing another batch of cookies.
I was chatting with a long time friend via emails this week about the importance of what we do, even if there are some who would think a concentration on cooking, decorating, and making a home cozy is deemed worldly. Not at all... we are the makers of memories.
Women especially seem to hold it all together each year. That which makes Christmas special. I do know there are men who must step into that role but mostly it is the wives, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, and daughters who keep the Christmas traditions alive.
We know the importance of doing it this way or that way every year. Not that it becomes a burden but that it remain a blessing. We are the keepers of the family archives as special recipes and traditions remain important each year.
So here it is just a week later and I am feeling much better. I found my sparkle. I have enjoyed a few things on my Christmas tradition list... stopping by Barnes and Noble, enjoying a cup of coffee and an orange scone at Panera, and enjoying a late breakfast at Cracker Barrel.
I will admit that my trip to my favorite decorating shop only involved running in quickly before they closed to purchase two sprigs of artificial holly for the dough bowl. I told the owner that I will return. I promise. I need to return and just breath in the aromas and listen to the country music Christmas songs.
All of this was what I was pondering this early morning, long before the lights came on in the windows of my neighbors. Expectations. How this is the Season of Expectations. It is the God given way of the world. I felt His presence and His smile.
I have found Advent means more to me every year as I celebrate the first coming and look forward to His return when all things will be made new. For He is the Source of all sparkling.
Image: John Sloan, Artist