“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
I’ve been sitting here this morning, once again thinking about how Mary must have felt on the night Jesus was born. Peace on earth, something the angels announced to the country shepherds on the hillside, must have been something quite far from her experience on that cold winter night.
After all, according to scripture, all sorts of people kept showing up . . . shepherds, wise men, etc. It seems that even on that very first Christmas night, there was a very real dimension to the celebration that included people, and , still does, if you are very lucky, (Or unlucky depending on how you feel about it) lots of them. People make the holiday season into a celebration, but they can also complicate it beyond all measure.
For most of my growing up years, my Christmas’s involved only my very immediate family. Because my father was in the Royal Canadian Air Force, we lived too far away from our extended family for most of the time I was growing up. Because of this our celebrations were very small and quiet.
My first few years as a mother myself saw Christmas’s spent in much the same way. Living all the way out in Alberta meant that we were thousands of miles away from our loved ones, and so we did not have a houseful of family to celebrate with then either, although to be sure, we always invited friends to come and share in our celebrations. For the most part however, they were very quiet holiday celebrations.
It was only when we moved closer to the East Coast that our celebrations began to include other family members. Most years saw us celebrating and enjoying the special holiday season and wonderful feelings associated with it, with most of our extended family around. They were special times . . . family times . . . filled with love and joy. I hope that we were able to build some special Christmas memories for our children throughout those years.
One year, we organised and celebrated a family Christmas on Boxing Day, with a sleigh ride out in the rural countryside of London, Ontario. We had a great time, although as the day dawned, we had no snow to speak of. It looked like it was going to be a waggon ride instead of a sleigh ride.
All the family were invited. My sister and her daughter were coming up from Windsor, as well as my brother in law and sister in law plus niece, also from Windsor. My sister in law and her better half, along with their twin boys were travelling down from Toronto and my mother was already with us, having travelled up from Nova Scotia to spend Christmas with my family. When you added myself, my husband and our four (at the time) children into the mix it meant for a lot of hustle, bustle and noise. The plan was to go out into the country and have this sleigh ride and then back to ours for a buffet lunch afterwards, pot luck as it were. Everyone was bringing some delicious food to eat and, as you can probably guess, I had been cooking and baking for days in preparation.
What a wonderful time we had, all of us crowded onto that waggon!!! We laughed, told stories, sang carols and froze our toes off . . . all together in one big happy group. All the nieces and nephews had a great time joking around with each other and throwing hats off the waggon that needed to be retrieved. I think they had a ball chasing the back of the waggon in turn, and trying to get back onto it. It was a bumpy old ride as the ground was quite frozen by then, and all the wheel ruts had frozen into hard ridges that the waggon bounced and jostled us over.
Before we had gone too far though, soft, fluffy flakes began to fall on top of our heads and it wasn't long before we had to switch to a sleigh. It was like a Christmas miracle, and I am quite sure we all felt a bit like we were a part of a Christmas card in the making. What a special time that was for us, 8 adults and 9 children . . . a Christmas memory that I am quite sure is looked back on very fondly with the rose coloured glasses of love, by all who were there on that special day.
All of us were quite glad to get back to the house afterwards, and warm our cold hands, feet and noses . . . and to plough into the buffet that was very quickly laid out. Several hours, and on into the evening, were spent together in loving companionship with each other, sharing and enjoying all the goodness that was in abundance, along with the special feelings of love and belonging to a family that were present on that day. My in-laws had not always gotten along with each other, nor had the children, but on that day it seemed that all bad feelings had been put aside and that all we were there for was to enjoy being a family together, and all the special feelings that encompasses. It was all in all a pretty wonderful and very special occasion.
Most of the years that we were able to, we organised special activities that included family and friends, and I hope that I was able to help build some very special and loving memories of Christmas’s gone past for my children. There was never a lot of money around, but there was always plenty of love.
As Mother Teresa has said . . . “It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into the doing.” I know that I always put a lot of love into those special days and occasions.
Nowadays, there is just Todd, Mitzie and myself here in this humble home to celebrate this blessed holiday. I confess that I am struggling this year to find my Christmas Mojo. Oh for sure I have gathered in all the trappings of Christmas, the turkey and fixings, etc. and I have baked some special treats and whatnot, but this is the first year in a long time that I have not invited anyone over to share it with us. I just want really to be on our own this year without any pressure or obligations to fulfill. I have ordered a small stuffed turkey breast that I can just stick in the oven, which should arrive tomorrow at some point. We have some nice fish and cheese to enjoy on Christmas Eve. I have my Christmas films lined up to torture Todd with and I am looking forward to the Call the Midwife special that the BBC always treats us to. It usually kicks off the new season and series.
We got ourselves a checker board and we have been playing checkers together each night. I haven't won one game as of yet. Last night I truly got lambasted. Todd is really good at it. Its a simple game, but actually it requires a lot of skill and apparently I have none!
Oh well as they say, that's how the cookie crumbles!
A thought to carry with you . . .
° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~＼。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ ｜ 田田 ｜門 ★
*Christmas magic is silent.
You don't hear it, you feel it.
You know it, you believe it.
~Kevin Alan Milne•。★★ 。* 。
In The English Kitchen today, Sugared Date Squares. Quick, easy and incredibly moreish.
Have a wonderful Saturday. It promises to be very busy out there today so I am staying put. No travel chaos for me, thank goodness! Whatever you get up to, don't forget!
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And I do too!