Dec. 23 -- I had to run out for one last gift. It's a 6 mile ride out on Route 6 to get home and as I drove up the last big hill the music was stunning. Playing on the radio was “Hark, the herald angels sing!” with the full orchestra of the Royal Philharmonic & the full choir filling my vehicle completely. As the music came to a crescendo, I got to the top of the hill and was able to look out on miles and miles of scenery; wintery blue, the tops of the trees all white, and all very still. It was inspiring, to say the least. And, not coincidental.
As I drove along Springbrook Rd. the curves and dips in the road seemed particularly apropos to our lives. Up and down, and straight-forward, only to go back again, seemingly repeating what we got through yesterday. So, as I drove down my own snow-covered road, little wider than a driveway, it hit me.
Come, come with me. Into my house, and I will show you Christmas at our house! We will walk arm in arm through the rooms, and feel the warmth and the significance.
But, first, it's out of the car and up six steps to step up into the foyer. Through the front door be-wreathed on both sides. The first thing you notice is the warmth. So cold outside, so warm in here! The kitchen is straight ahead and to the right is the living room. To get there we go up six more steps to the upper floor.
My main Christmas tree sits in this room. Green, tall,bejeweled with all my precious ornaments from years past; some my kids made when in nursery school! Others we picked up on our sojourns to Peddlers Village in Lahaska. The lights are all white and the tinsel glistens so beautifully, especially when day melts into evening and reflections are seen in the wide front windows. Tables hold my Christmas village, the one I've painted and adorned over the years; little primitive snowmen, colored lights, regal glass candles and a glass vase filled with red ornaments trailing red garland which wends its way all around the table are here. Another table is where little ornaments stand; Santa &Mrs Santa waiting to string their popcorn garland, Snoopy decked out in hat & scarf, a Gooseberry Patch marshmallow man holding his hat as he sleds down the tablecloth, and dalmatian snowglobes placed in-between a little double-decker bus and a tiny red book all about Christmas! Across from this is my gold nativity; truly sublime when lit at night and it holds a place of prominence here, for this is the very reason for the Season.
Next to the hutch in the kitchen sits a round table with another Victorian lighted house upon it; in the center of the hutch is my Advent calendar. It's very old, for I can remember opening the windows on it when I was small. It used to have a long poem, each stanza a clue to where the window to be opened on that day was, but it is long gone. Still, the calendar, made in Western Germany is a treasure. I still open its windows faithfully every December.
In the front living room windows, the kitchen windows, and even in the bathroom window, I have pseudo-stained-glass fixtures for Christmas; pretty and colorful when the sun hits them. We walk down the hall from the kitchen to the front corner bedroom, which is my little sitting room. Here I have my Victorian tree; about 5 ft. tall on its own little table, and covered in pretty handmade ornaments and topped with a soft pink sequined ribbon. Snowmen, fluted fans, Old World-type bulbs, stockings, even dalmatians decorate this tree. The lights are soft, and there is a string of bubble lights which “bubble” quietly once the lights have been on for awhile. Under the tree are 3 gifts, pretty boxes all wrapped up as part of the decoration. In this room there is a candle in the front window also; and to sit here of a evening, for a spell, is pure delight. Heading back down the hall and down the stairs, covered in green holly & ivy and we descend to the family room down below. On one bookcase I have all the “Rudolph” decorations; those I received years ago, month after month, and based on the cute TV show. Other craft fair treasures adorn the large bookcase, and a feather tree all in white, complete with angel ornaments, and silver bead garland, sits on the other green bookcase.
Next to the TV is the large coffee table, and here is my new white tree, aglow with soft white lights, and sparkly blue ornaments. All blue. So striking against the pure white of the soft branches. It, too, stands about 4 ft. high and beneath I have a blue angel, a blue poinsettia plant, and blue garland all around the soft white tree blanket. My skating pond reposes here, too and on the shelf behind is my mirrored window frame with the red candle shining through it. Alongside the window frame are my kissing bears, who have been kissing since before Thanksgiving. On the other side is one of my hand-made snowmen sitting next to a seated reindeer. The window frame was a craft item from Toms River from many years ago. As are the sparkly pine cones, and so many other little ornaments and Christmas one-of-a-kinds all through my house. And nearer to one window sits my tealighted “leg lamp”; you know the one from the movie, AChristmas Story. And, in one corner of the room sits my 4-ft snowman, not wanting to miss out on any of what's going on down here.
I'm hoping in the coming years that Christmas will begin to mean Christmas to all of us again. No more rushing to the malls, no more last-minute nonsense gift-buying. Make your own gifts and give them as presents from you. The time that you spend creating them will only open up to you more ideas, so many more that you'll find you won't have time to do them all!
And remember that when you keep Christ in Christmas,you will always do the right things. As we go through theyears, we should be gaining wisdom; enough to understand that Christmas is when Jesus was born, and during the quiet, still nights of Advent, we get the opportunity to prepare our own hearts for Jesus, for his Holy Spirit, to enter there, and remain there, all year long.
So, thank you for coming home with me, and nothing suffices quite like a hot cup of tea and some homemade chocolate-covered cherry cookies, or iced butter cookies. I'll put the kettle on. As we sit down at my kitchen table, replete with red placemats, some knitted by me, and look around at all the abundance, we should keep one thing in mind.
God's gift of Himself to us is a present we will always be unwrapping.