Christal Cooper – 830 Words
Guest Blogger Helen Losse
I Love Christmas
I love Christmas—the decorating, the wrapping, red bows, green wreaths, cookie baking, the stockings, the candy canes, gingerbread coffee, salted nuts, outdoor lights, indoor lights, blow-up snowmen on the lawn, flickering candles, gifts, Jolly Old St Nick, children’s happy (and excited) faces, the angels, the church choir, the carol singing with songs sung in all styles, early darkness, twinkling stars, the special Star that stopped over the city of Bethlehem, the Christmas story from the gospel of St. Luke, Christmas cards that show haloes on the members of the Holy Family, the ever-increasing number of Christmas movies, a Charlie Brown Christmas, a nip in the air, stray snowflakes, helping the poor, the CSX Santa Train, every single nativity scene,...and yes, of course, the main reason: the Christ child who came down from Heaven to die and save all of mankind, and his obedient Virgin Mother. Not everyone shares my opinion or love.
In recent years, I have learned the joy of Christmas (and a practical way to keep from being ready to throw the tree to the curb on December 26) is to keep Advent. Advent is a liturgical season of waiting and watching; it’s a way to slow one’s pace and to examine one’s heart. Advent begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving in most churches, but you don’t have to go to church to keep advent. Advent culminates with the Birth of the Savior. I even chose St Nicholas, whose feast day is December 6. as my personal saint. As an Advent saint, he will slow me down and help me remember that Advent is a season of penance and fasting; Christmas is a traditional feast day. In fact, the Twelve Days of Christmas are feast days. The real party only begins on Christmas Day. Prepare? Sure. Buy and wrap, decorate and bake, but wait. Wait. Babies are born when they are ready. The Son of God was born “in the fullness of time”; The Son of God was born at Christmas; The Son of God is love incarnate; Love was born at Christmas. I love Christmas.
I’m not bothered when Halloween candy sits in the drug store next to the cherry chocolates. The appearance of both brings me hope; the Holidays are coming. I’m not annoyed when people say, “Happy Holidays,” for it is clear to me that “the holidays” cover everything from Halloween to Valentine’s Day: Thanksgiving, Chanukuh, Winter Solstice, Kwaanza, , New Year’s Day, Eastern Orthodox Christmas (January 7), and Epiphany are all winter holidays celebrated by someone. Why should I be annoyed that someone’s view differs from mine? My tree twinkles through it all. The sadness is in packing it all away not in bringing it out too early. I am not annoyed by commercials with cars in red ribbons, although I’ve never bought a car for Christmas; nor am I mad that other women may get bigger diamonds from the local jeweler. Christmas is a birthday party of world-wide proportion.
As a child, my family’s Christmas was huge. We had mountains of gifts, although we were far from rich. Our packages included ordinary things that we would need and get anyway, such as underwear and socks, lotion and soap, luxury items purchased on sale that we would not have had otherwise, bikes, wagons, dolls, and candy and fruit galore. Soon we learned to love the giving, too. One year when we were small, we bought Daddy a sheep for the family nativity scene. He was over-joyed; I still tear up knowing it was just what he wanted. As we grew older, a late-December allowance gave us enough for “one more gift for Mummy.” Also as a child, I learned the value of sharing. Our parents insisted each birthday child give small token gifts to the others “to share our birthday”; It’s not all about me. Jesus’s birthday is the biggest one of all. Yes, I shop all year for Christmas, mostly online. Buying things on sale means I can give more.
Did I mention that I love Christmas? All the griping in the world about commercialism cannot drive this love from me, I pray, for I am a woman of faith. “Faith, Hope, and Love; and the greatest of these is love.” the Bible says.. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus; Jesus is God; God is love. I love Christmas.
Who can deny how gently
tender petals float on the wind?
Yet each day more flowers fall,
withered and dying.
Even the leaves
remain where they drop.
Is this not a sign?
the pinks of summer.
The wind blows colder now
and hardly for the better.
Stiff brown leaves crunch,
a Rose of Sharon blossoms
from a Virgin’s womb.
And the wonder of it is
it happened just like that.
first published in Domicile and later in Better With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009)
Photograph Description and Copyright Information
Christmas Photo of Helen Losse
Attributed to Bill Losse
Copyright granted by Helen Losse
Jolly Old St Nick music notes and illustration
Child singers carrying a star with icon of a saint. Bucharest, 1842.
"Adoration of the Shepherds" by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622
Title frame from A Charlie Brown Christmas television special.
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law
The Virgin and Child (The Madonna of th Book) panel
Height: 58 mm (2.28 inc). Width: 39.6 mm (1.56 in).
Attributed to Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510_
Current location at Museo Poldi Pezzoli
Advent wreath, aka Adventskranz in its original design 1839, designed by Johann Hinrich Wichern.
Source: Rauhes Haus, Hamburg, Germany
Nils Fretwurst with friendly permission for public domain use in Wikipedia granted by the Public Relations & Press office of the Stiftung des Rauhen Hauses, in Hamburg, Germany
Russian Icon of St Nicholas depicting scenes of his life.
Late 1400s early 1500s
National Museum Stokholm
Baby Jesus in the manger
A Jack o' Lantern made for the Holywell Manor Halloween celebrations in 2003. Photograph by Toby Ord on 31 Oct 2003.
Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909.
Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal
A Menorah, Chanukkah
Sunrise between the stones at Stonehenge on the Winter Solstice in the
December 22, 1985
: Ron Karenga celebrating at the Rochester Institute of Technology on December 12, 2003
2003 Kwanzaa celebration with its founder, Maulana Karenga, and others
Fireworks in Mexico City at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day
Eneas De Troya from Mexico City, México
Cc by 20
Epiphany, the Adoration of the Magi
Bartolome Esteban Murillo 1617-1682
oil on canvas
Toledo Musuem of Art
Helen Losse in black sweater.
Copyright granted by Helen Losse
Jacket cover of Better With Friends
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