Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Christmas, at last!

Autumnal decorations are resting on the coffee table, awaiting my attention to put them in one of the two Rubbermaid style containers they reside in from December through August. I would call it a mess except that would be like calling the fallen leaves under the trees a mess.  They actually are quite lovely in a jumbled sort of way.

We had to get a new artificial tree this year after it became apparent last Christmas that our little Charlie Brown tree was not long for this world, at least for inside of the house, as another branch broke off.  It will soon be set in the corner of the front porch decorated with dried orange slices.

The new tree has been assembled (surprisingly easy once we knew what we were doing) and it only awaits me tweaking the branches to make them look full as opposed to a tree having lived in a cardboard box all of its life.  That should happen this afternoon after the two NFL games have been watched... only for the sake of Fantasy Football I am told.  ;)

I probably will not decorate the tree until tomorrow for that will require bringing most of the Rubbermaid Christmas boxes inside.  All of my decorating the past few years has been "a little at a time" and while I can't wait to see the finished results, I know it is best not to push myself more than I should.  Which, is not easy I can assure you!

While many of my Christmas decorations went to charity to find new homes, I still have enough to make the house quite festive.  There is a good balance when we look in the mirror and be truthful as to how much we can accomplish while not overdoing it.  It is not all or nothing... we can still decorate as we love to do only now it is with less stuff and over more days.

While I can find beauty in Spring and Summer, it is in September through December that I find the most beauty on this old sod.  Living in the Northern Hemisphere, these are the month of Narnia magic that begins with pumpkin spice beverages and apple desserts as the the cooler air sets in by the end of September.  

Then we go from the bright autumnal colors of October, to the muted but still beautiful colors of November (and Thanksgiving), to the cold and sometimes snowy weeks of Advent and Christmas... and the sparkle that is December.  Sparkly lights are everywhere if one looks for them.  They are a reminder that a Light has come in the darkness.

I have written before that I absolutely am aware Christmas in December was set to go along with the pagan celebration of Winter Solstice.  I've read the reasoning behind it and actually, if one lived in that century it made sense.  I know Christmas trees started with the Druids and mistletoe is a pagan ritual and I'm certain someone will tell me Jingle Bell Rock does not belong on a Christian's Playlist.

I never paid much attention to any of this when I was younger and I can assure you that I do not now.  For I am old enough to know that words and traditions have the meaning given to them by our own society.  I didn't know what a Druid was growing up but I knew how much I loved having a Christmas tree during the celebration of the birth of Christ.

I love all kinds of Christmas music and, of course, Jingle Bell Rock must be sung by Brenda Lee.  It was a much loved song of my mother and my much older sisters when I was growing up. Along with Christmas music sung by Bing Crosby and any of the other crooners... and Johnny Cash, of course.

I love having a season of time in this very secular and even anti-Christian world in which we live that Christmas carols... I mean even the religious kind!... are played over the speaker at the grocery store.  Well, in our part of the country in the Midwest at least.  

This year we need to embrace the message of Christmas more than ever before. It is our only Light in the darkness.  Right now, I have Psalms 91 up on my Bible app on the tablet.  I'm thinking for awhile, I am going to change it to Luke 2.  I need to have a daily reminder that the birth of Christ really did take place in space and time and what we call history.  Which is after all, His Story.

For this first Sunday in Advent, I leave you with the letter written by Fra Giovanni.  (I hope to publish some book recommendations later in the week.)

I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got, but there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace!

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see - and to see we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by the covering, cast them away as ugly, or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, grasp it, touch the angel's hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that angel's hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty - beneath its covering - that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.

Courage, then, to claim it, that is all. But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are all pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home.

And so, at this time, I greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you now and forever, the day breaks, and the shadows flee away.

Fra Giovanni, Christmas Eve, 1513 in a letter sent to his friend, Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi. 

Image:  Christmas decorating on the buffet a few years ago.


Vee said...

A new tree! I grinned to think of you fluffing the branches. My least favorite task of putting up the tree is just that. I was grateful when the eldest grand looked at it grumbling and started in to fluffing. I wear leather gloves for the task as I am not a fan of being attacked by a prickly tree at every turn. Now if I can figure out where to put the furniture, I'll be all set.

Jenny said...

I think you & I are on the same page. I've streamlined my decorating as well but I do still do plenty. I have four very large on the back porch, a small table top tree in my kitchen, a tall pencil tree in the living room & new this year, a book tree for my grandson. We saw one at a used book store recently loved it. In some ways I'm doing more than I used to because my grandson stays with me while his parents work...he is four.

I think I'll introduce him to some of my favorite Christmas singers as we hang ornaments today!

And I really look forward to your book list.

Deanna Rabe said...

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

We must keep shining His light into the darkness of the world. Enjoy your decorating! Bit by bit it'll get done!