Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Tea - How the doings helped to change the feelings

You may remember that only about a month ago, I wasn't all that thrilled with the upcoming Christmas season.  Many events had conspired to make me want December to pass quickly.  However, I made the decision to attempt some doing in spite of my feeling.

I can't begin to tell you how it helped to turn December into more of a blessing than a month I would rather see in the rear view mirror.  I began by just assembling the Christmas tree and even though it took two or three days to start decorating it, I have enjoyed every morning having a time of quiet by the light of the Christmas tree.

That one decision sparked a few other decorations coming off of their shelf in the garage where they spend eleven months each year.  I still didn't feel like getting out everything, some items stayed secure and... if needed... wrapped in tissue paper until the next Christmas when they will be enjoyed.

For instance, I didn't display what remains of my snowman collection that normally finds a space on the hutch in the Living Room.  Even though they remind me of friends and family who either made the snowman or gave it to me as a gift.  It was a little more effort than I wanted to expend at that time.

However, the larger soft snowmen and ladies were placed on the top shelf of a baker's rack in the Family Room.  They take only minutes to rescue from their container and about as few to put them away snugly until next year.  I especially love the Boyd's Bear snow lady and child that my daughter gave me when she was in college.

Except for Christmas ornaments, most of what I displayed didn't take much time to place where they could be displayed. (Yes, I am obsessive about where Christmas tree ornaments or hung each year.)  I carefully took the tissue paper from around the cabin, a vintage Santa and sleigh purchased at an Estate Sale, and a vintage china Christmas dish that belonged to my mother-in-law to enjoy.

After much pondering, I decided one day to put together the display on the sideboard that is shown in the photo above.  Well, one corner of it is in the photo.  Except for the tree, it is my very favorite of all the decorating for it provides a beauty that would have been missed.  I can't tell you how many evenings I have stopped to gaze at the way the lamplight brings a sparkle to the china and silver.

As a commenter on Instagram said, it belongs in Victoria magazine.  I thought it looked very Victoria, too, and I'm certain all the hours poured over the magazine throughout the years was the inspiration for how to arrange everything.

Although I do enjoy the lovely decorations, I have been careful not to force Christmas cheer onto myself.  It has been a difficult year for nearly all of us and all the twinkle lights in the world could not change that.  They do, however, serve as a backdrop of the beauty that can be found at Christmas.  It is just that in this year, many of us have had to look for that beauty a little harder than usual.

While there continues to be a stack of Christmas books to read on my desk, a few favorite Christmas DVDs to watch, and some videos on YouTube I like during this Season, I am not forcing the doing of any of that this year.  That would defeat the purpose of this quiet Christmas season.  The last thing I need is to put more stress on myself or anyone else.

I have watched favorite movies on television, from the old standbys like White Christmas and The Bishop's Wife to a couple of new Hallmark movies.  This week, I do plan to watch a favorite DVD or two since I only need to leave home one time.  I read a lovely new-to-me Grace Livingston Hill Christmas story on the Kindle.  Her books are much like the old black and white Christmas movies as I can depend on them to take me to a gentler and more innocent time.

This week, I am doing a little baking and candy making each day.  If I make enough, they will be shared with my neighbors but I most definitely will be making goodies for my family to take home and to share with friends who are family by marriage.  Having enough extra for the neighbors would be a nice bonus but... this is to be a stress free season as much as it is within my ability to make it so.

I didn't read any of my Advent books this year but I have been listening to the lovely Sarah Wanders on Instagram when she has felt like sharing one or two Advent poems.  My daughter had told me that Sarah is expecting again and I was quite happy when it was no longer a secret.  However, I am very good at keeping secrets.  ;)

It isn't often... well, probably never... that I have treated myself with "kid gloves" like it was needed this December.  Normally, I push through the fatigue and pray through challenges.  If there is one thing I know we all need at the end of 2020, it is to take care of ourselves as we keep our focus on the Lord.  He knows how this year has affected us physically and emotionally because He is the Creator.

My prayer for you is that this next week, you will find and keep the Joy and Beauty that is found in the reason we celebrate Christmas.  Don't get all theological about it, who cares if Jesus was not born on this particular day... we celebrate the fact that He was born!

We also celebrate the second Advent that I think is soon.  Is it soon like a year or soon like decades?  I don't know but it will be one of the most amazing events the Church has ever known when it happens.  Let us celebrate that first amazing Advent this week, and let the feelings follow the doings.  He understands...

I am taking my usual Christmas week to around New Year's day (more or less) vacation from being online.  I will moderate comments and I will be posting off and on at Instagram should there be something pretty to share (or I find another pair of Bigfoot socks).  

Much affection my friends and have a blessed Christmas.  Stay safe!  We are not in a lock down but we are advised, as with much of this past year, to be diligent about wearing a mask and washing our hands as we leave home as little as possible.

Mentioned in this Blog Post

The GLH book was The Substitute Guest, found... here.  This one, like many of her books for the Kindle, is only $2.99.

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links.

Sarah (formerly Clarkson) can be found @sarahwanders on Instagram... here.

Image:  @coffeeteabooksandme on Instagram... here.


Anonymous said...

I have been reading some of my Christmas books plus a couple Grace Hill
books who is my favorite author. Many Christmas blessings to you and your family. Sharon D.

Anonymous said...

I loved The Substitute Guest by GLH! She wrote another Christmas-themed story called Astra that is also enjoyable. Take care of yourself and have a blessed Christmas!

P.S. For some reason your Instagram link doesn't work for me?? Any idea why? I would love to see your posts there and more of your lovely pictures.

gracie said...

It has certainly been a difficult year for so many. Wishing you and yours a good New Year.

Margie from Toronto said...

You sound as though you have things well balanced and I hope that you enjoy Christmas and the rest of the month. I too have kept it simple this year and Hallmark movies and old favourites have certainly helped. This morning I watched my Church's annual Christmas pageant online - they did an amazing job - everyone has really stepped up to the challenges of technology.

The shopping is finished and I've spent the day baking fruit loaves so my apt. smells very Christmassy at the moment.

Take care, get some rest and we will "see" you in the New Year.

Rebecca said...

Merry Christmas, Brenda! Sounds like you've hit a wonderful balance for yourself. Thanks for the inspiration. 🎄

elizabeth said...

Such a true thing, doing that which we are not feeling yet often leads one to both the doing and feeling! Blessed Christmas to you! And yes, it is a beautiful picture!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to share a new-to-me Christian author that I've really been enjoying this Christmas season - Melody Carlson - who is actually quite prolific. She has several Christmas-themed stories, and although somewhat predictable, they are also very heart-warming. There is a little bit drama, but excessive tragedy (kind of like a Hallmark Christmas movie in book form. I'm finding that I need more gentle books right now because of all the drama going on in real life! And I love that I don't have to worry about inappropriate content. To me, she's a modern-day GLHill! (-: I think you'd really like "The Christmas Cat", but don't make the mistake I did and purchase it twice!! "Christmas Tails" has both "The Christmas Cat" AND "The Christmas Dog" stories together.../-:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Brenda, I wanted to see if my comment went through because I was in a hurry when I typed it. As I reread it, I noticed in my rush I had left out a few key words!
So, what I wanted to say was in Carlson's books there is a LITTLE bit of drama, but NOT excessive tragedy. I'm sure you caught what I meant. Serves me right for rushing - Haha!

Sherry said...

i don't know how to make *hearts* with my laptop keyboard. so i'll simply leave a few *hearts* typed out and call it good. *hearts**hearts**hearts*

Deanna Rabe said...

The Substitute Guest is one of my favorites and I was thinking of this book just the other day!

I think every year we should do what we need for that year. I am still the maker of Christmas in my home, and so I have pushed through some sad underlying feelings this year and like you the feelings follow the doings. Not that I didn’t want to do Christmas, but just a felt some sadness of all that is going on in our world.

Here, we are celebrating the Reason for the Season and rejoicing that he came, and yes, that one day he’ll becoming again!

Kristy said...

I can't tell you how many times I have pushed myself through sad feelings and do what I feel I must even when I feel I can't. As always I love your blog and reading your wisdom. - Love from Louisiana!

Kay said...

I was hoping "Substitute Guest" was your book as I couldn't remember if you enjoyed it every year or not. I found that book several years ago and I read it every year. I love the scene of Mother and Daryl working in the kitchen on Christmas Eve morning, getting all the good food ready, while the men are out getting the tree. I visualize my grandparents home out on the farm whenever the farm house in the story is described.
And as I commented on an earlier post of yours, The Dean's Watch and SG will be my go-to Christmas reading in the future. I also add in "Winter Solstice" for more snowy, food-related fun.