Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas, ya'll

Hi Cathy, Naomi and Ellen,
I hope you are well, warm and enjoying the companionship of your loved ones on this blessed day!

As some of you know, Den & I gave up most of the trappings of Christmas several years ago. It was not an easy thing to do and ruffled the tail-feathers of a number of people we care about. At that time, the only traditions we salvaged were the Christmas meal with our family and Christmas stockings which we stuff with small gifts and fruit. These stockings are very special because my mother knitted one for each of us. To give that tradition up would be to waste a true labor of love. Here is a picture. They are embellished with sequins and small bells. We cherish ours.

During the year I contemplate Christmas and its true meaning. This is always growing as I learn more about the mysteries of Christ's birth and all the attending events: the ancient prophecies, the angels visiting the shepherds, the quest of the Magi, their enigmatic gifts and so much more. Certainly it is a time to set aside for commemoration and celebration, but what forms should these take? Culturally, there would be similarities with all in our society. But I think many struggle to find what is genuine and meaningful and are burdened by all that is not. This year I went to my, Quotable Lewis, an Encyclopedic Selection of Quotes from the Complete Published Works of C. S. Lewis. I was hoping to find ennobling thoughts about the way we celebrate Christmas. I was surprised. There were only 3 selections under the heading of "Christmas". Each expressed the same sentiment. This quote from, "Letters to an American Lady" is representative.
"I feel exactly as you do about the horrid commercial racket they have made out of Christmas. I send no cards and give no presents except to children."
Hummm. This has been a problem much longer than I suspected.

For Den and me, the objective at this time of year is to find ways to commemorate and celebrate the birth of Christ that are genuine. We never gave up giving, we just found other outlets. This year we did a number of new things that we will weave in to our lives as traditions. One was the Evening Prayer and quiet meditation time at St. John's. That was replenishing to the spirit at this hectic time. Being bell-ringers for the Salvation Army was another activity we enjoyed. We started observing Advent for the first time. We ordered a copy of Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas and read from it, not daily, but often. It is always enjoyable to receive the insights of great thinkers. Cathy and Ellen, the concerts you give with Voces Angelorum are "not to be missed"! I'm sure the search will grow and change each year. The quest continues. I would love to hear what ya'll find true and meaningful at Christmas time.

Ellen, I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip. Especially about new yarn for your stash and the Moscow Cat Theater.


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