23 December 2007

Christmas joy!!

(the fruits of today's labor...Christmas cookie baking!)

who would not be drawn to a season that began with an innocent baby & speaks of a world at peace? i have so enjoyed reading some very beautiful memories other bloggers are sharing of their Christmases past & present. i love the thought of the joy garlanded around our world right now in bloglandia. with a cup of tea each night in the quite house, or with my morning coffee at sunrise, your shared joy is bringing smiles to my face! thank you...
reflecting on those times etched on the heart is part of the beauty of this season...some of my favorite Christmas memories give an extra layer of warmth to my heart today...

i remember going to Christmas Eve Mass as a little girl to the magnificent church of my grandfather's & momma's childhoods. every year that Mass drew my momma back, a faraway look of love in her eyes. our own church was a very small mission church. the weekly Sunday Mass was held in a donated home & i am not even sure if they had Christmas Eve Mass. that probably didn't matter to my momma. she was at home in the church of her early faith. i was always amazed at the soaring sky blue ceiling with stars & angels, so beautiful by candlelight.i was tickled pink to be snuggled warmly between momma & daddy, not caring how long the homily might be. the holiness of the eve was palpable. one particular Christmas Eve, the pastor of this church had just concluded the Gospel reading. that year there were so many babies at Mass & that meant lots of baby noises...all very dramatic in this big church. before beginning his homily, Father smiled the most beautiful smile & when the last little one quieted down, he said..."ahhhhh, listen to our own precious choir of angels on this holy night."what a joyful thing to say. as a mother so many years later, that comment came back to me time and again when my little ones would cry. i wonder if he ever knew what a ripple of joy his words would send into time.
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the eve of Christmas eve...my senior year in high school. i was a band geek as were most of my friends. that year we had the dreaded half day of school on december 23 (we much preferred to start the break before then ;) in reality, there was very little in terms of school work accomplished on that day...exams were over & it seemed to be just a day to log on the calendar to bring us closer to the required 180 per year. with some creative time on our hands, a bunch of us who could play instruments & a few who could sing, decided to go caroling that night at the assisted living facility & nursing home in our small town. our recent band concert fare provided us with ample memorized music of the season.we agreed to meet & walk the town, playing for the elderly folks & anyone else who happened to be in our path. i rushed home to bake cookies that afternoon for our group & at dusk we met at one of the group member's home. we had the most wonderful time. i could not believe i had never done that before! part way through our caroling, an unexpected snow began to gently fall. amazing. i can still see those flakes drifting through the lights of Christmas. our little group was hushed for a bit in humble gratitude for such a gift of beauty. i went home glad we had a half day of school, glad we followed the trail of serendipity...
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2006...the eve of Christmas eve again! last month i mentioned one of my sacred objects...the 17 roses that washed up on our beach. i promised the story & since today one year has passed, this Christmas memory seems perfect to share. D., Little Man & i took a jaunt over to our beach in the afternoon of 23 december in between the storms that were blowing in from the sea. it was one of those days that absolutely everything was dressed in a shade of perfect beach grey with a wind blowing that moves through every cell of your being, taking away every care you could possibly harbor, leaving you with only a fresh cleaned soul. Little Man & i crested the dune & headed south while D., moved in the opposite direction. against the backdrop of grey, a brilliant red caught my eye just a short piece away. i could not believe it when i scooped up a red rose petal, all soft & tender. it seemed so out of place. Little Man just shrugged...neither of us could imagine how it came to be there. no houses or people were nearby. in a moment another flash of red caught my eye & then another....more petals! i told Little Man in a burst of joy that we were being led down a path to a glorious surprise. he just laughed at me in his pragmatic, scientific-meteorologist kind of way. (they generally don't forecast roses around here!)in another moment, my breath was totally taken away...a perfect, long-stemmed red rose washed in on the tide!! as i plucked it from the seafoam, i heard D. on the wind...running & yelling~~ he came bearing yet another perfect rose! the 3 of us began running toward the next flash of red on the tide...laughing, rescuing roses from the turbulent sea. this was a trail of pure joy. when we reached rose number 17, my arms were full & there were no more dots of red against the grey. the storm clouds once again began to threaten & we turned for home. i took those magnificent roses home, gently washed the salt water away & put them in a place of honor for the holidays...they lasted past 1 january!! they were a true Christmas miracle & a moment of unrestrained joy. i felt like a child running along that beach from one to the next, knowing that this was a gift beyond any reason, with heart full of gratitude!
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may the joy of this season speak to your heart in the voice of love...may you hear the words & feel the peace...

(moonlight over the bay...tonight's perfect light.)

9 comments:

Joy T. said...

Stopping by to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

sognatrice said...

Such wonderful stories and photos. If I wasn't in the spirit already I certainly would be now.

Something tells me there aren't many better places to spend the holidays than at your house ;)

Auguri a tutti!

eb said...

such beautiful stories and memories - and your sentiments are so lovely - thank you so much for sharing these and have a most glorious Christmas...

red tender petal by red tender petal

xox - eb.

Sunflower said...

Merry Christmas Eve! See you tonight!

Britt-Arnhild said...

Merry Christmas to you.

Cre8Tiva said...

a beautiful post to read on this blessed day...roses are special to me today also...wishing you love and peace this day, rebecca

Claudia said...

As always your photos are beautiful and your stories really tender! Thanks for stopping by my blog, I was uncertain about writing a Christmas-post, but after reading your comment I decided to do it!

I wish you a merry, merry Christmas!
Buon Natale!

Miss Eliza said...

lovely, lovely post. grazie!

qualcosa di bello said...

& you too joy!!! give that pup a smooch for me too...

sognatrice...your blog has been putting me in the spirit with all those crazy 12 things...i've loved it!

eb...i wish i would have had my camera that day to snap some shots of that trail! they were definitely a shade from the eb-palette!

sunflower...what a good Christmas!!

britt-arnhild..& to you too!

rebecca...blessings to you to in this joyous season!

claudia...i can't wait to read it :D buon natale a te!

miss eliza...prego!