Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Tea - When the feeling follows the doing

I walked out to get our newspaper the morning after Thanksgiving and was surprised to see a long line of pick up trucks in line down the road from where we live.  It took a few seconds for it to register what day it was... the day the Christmas tree farm opens for customers.

I had to leave for the grocery store soon after but I noticed on my way home that the field next to the farm was full of trucks and cars.  Apparently, many people needed a little Christmas this year and cutting down their own tree was definitely the way to begin it.

I admit to having mixed feelings about Christmas this year.  On one hand, it has been a dark year and the lights and sparkle of Christmas would be good for the soul.  On the other, I wasn't in the Christmas mood.  Normally, I would be baking cookies for the freezer already while Christmas music played in the background.  This year I have not listened to one song.  Nothing.  Not, yet...

However, I did know that there was one Christmas decoration I wanted and that was my Christmas tree.  I adore dark December mornings sipping the first cup of coffee by the light of the tree.  So, I moved the vintage picnic basket on which an equally vintage graniteware container holds a couple large plants to the Study.

That cleared the space for the Christmas tree but it was two days later that I finally pulled the tree off the shelves in the garage.  It was assembled and then the next day, the lights and wooden cranberry strands and ornaments were placed carefully on each branch.  It took another day to find which container held the handmade "angel" that tops the tree.

Normally, I pull every Christmas Rubbermaid container off the shelves in one enormous decorating frenzy.  Not this year, it was a little at a time decorating... not only so I didn't get tired but because I was tired in another way.  My soul was tired.   

I told my husband that I was just going to display a few favorite Christmas items this year but as I pulled the decorations out of the containers, I found the Christmas spirit returning.  I still didn't display everything but there are far more decorations than I originally planned throughout the house.

It is a lesson I first learned a very long time ago and I need reminders now and then... sometimes when I do not feel like celebrating, the feelings will follow if I take that first step forward.  I should have known putting much loved Christmas ornaments on the tree would lift my spirits, at least a little.

The next item to be displayed was the "log cabin" shown in the photo above from a previous Christmas.  It is kind of an optical illusion for the back of the cabin is flat so it can sit next to the back of the shelf.  However, it is a favorite decoration, an expensive item purchased many years ago on clearance very cheap because of a broken swing.  I just glued the swing to the floor of the porch and made it a bench.  ;)

So, the cabin is not only something I find pretty but when I look at it, it reminds me how God takes all the broken things and puts them back together in our lives to make something beautiful.  Sometimes we can see the results immediately and there are a few times that I've known it will be in Eternity that I actually see the results.  However... He always makes beauty from the broken things.

Now that the decorations are up, I'm more likely to bring out the Christmas music and movies.  I already have a couple books set aside to peruse this week... stories from A Christmas Book by Elizabeth Goudge and No Holly For Miss Quinn by Miss Read.

There will be time this next week to contemplate the Word and how God has everything in His hands.  I think we all need to ponder that more this year than ever before.  A favorite verse is 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind".

It reminds me that if I'm feeling fear, it did not come from God.  He never sends fear our way so that has to mean it comes from the enemy of our soul.  Fear is a terrible taskmaster that can ruin our days but God has given us what we need to battle that fear.

Many have said that faith is the opposite of fear and we can rest on what Hebrews 11:1 reminds us of what faith is for the Christian, "The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen".  So, instead of pondering all sorts of scenarios in my mind, I can have faith that God has the future in the palm of His hand.

May the spirit of God bring you peace and love and joy and some sparkle in your life this week.

Mentioned in this Blog Post

Favorite Christmas books were mentioned in the last Book Talk post... here.


Vee said...

Here's hoping! ☺️

Sherry said...

as i respond to your post, O Holy Night is playing on my laptop (thanks to youtube). over the past nearly decade it's been a push to decorate for Christmas. but when i do there's a hush so to speak - and i can once again rest in the Lord and let HIS light shine. what a blessing. that said, i am reducing my decor. again. and it feels great.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been in the mood for Christmas music either. Not even the old, beloved Christmas carols (and certainly not the irritating "Jingle Bell Rock/Grandma Got Run Over ..." types played repeatedly in the stores! )-: But I had a long road trip yesterday and decided to pop in the Sovereign Grace CD we had purchased a few years ago. Lovely! I needed the deeper, more meaningful lyrics sung in a new, fresher setting. Then my daughter told me they have released another Christmas album recently with songs she loves, so we played a few on Youtube as we traveled. The new album is called Heaven Has Come to Us. Oh, the songs are so beautiful and moving - and richly scriptural! Just what my thirsty soul needed to soak in during this challenging time! I especially loved "Once Upon" and "Who is This?" Try them and be blessed! (-:

Keri said...

Yet another timely post by you for me, Brenda! No less than fifteen minutes ago, I was feeling a sense of heaviness and darkness when I thought about the Christmas season ahead of me. To be honest, at that moment I wished we could just skip the whole thing. Obviously, that wouldn't be the right choice (not to mention that my husband and 16yo, 14yo, and 12yo would have something to say about that!). Reading your post tonight reminds me that once I "get started" with the season -- pulling out the Christmas mugs is on tomorrow's agenda -- the feelings and spirit will follow. Thank you for giving me this bit of hope that I need tonight!

Linda Nichols said...

I read your post today because I knew you would have a timely word. Your posts never fail to encourage.

Anonymous said...

I realize you don't know me, but every year when I decorate the tree, I think of you when I put my favorite pale gold balls in a swath through the middle of the tree, and also when I enjoy coffee in the early morning, alone, in the light of the tree, and have my quiet time with God.
This year was also a hard start for me. I did put up the tree and string its lights, and some decor, but then waited another week or two to finish up. This was the first time that I ever put up the tree before Thanksgiving. Undecorated, but up.

Kathy T. said...

My tree has been up since Friday but has not a single light nor ornament on it. Just having trouble getting started this year. I do have my Christmas cups, kitchen towels and dishes out, but that's about it. I'm hoping the mood strikes me to get the rest of the stuff out. I may only put a few things up this year as well. Such a strange feeling after a strange year. Thank you for helping me to feel I'm not the only one.