Daily Reflections From My Window

December 20, 2021 Monday: Day 20 of Advent. No Brevity Today!

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“Freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin—inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night.” John J. GeddesThat’s what I’m missing. The senses of the season. I hate to be a moaner because God has blessed me with so much, but I have had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I figured out yesterday when I was talking to my friend Janet, who moved to be closer to her kids across the country, and who I miss more than I realized, that the senses have so much to do with the season and when you can’t smell or taste anything (or remember) it’s kind of blah. Cinnamon, cookies baking, the smell of the crisp air, a candle, a fire in the fireplace are scents of all things I miss. And the tastes of the season! Christmas is full of them. When you are the one who does the Christmas prep, it makes everything stop in that regards. We were going to get our tree on Saturday but because it was raining all day decided not to. Normally, it’s a big event and we drive to a farm and cut it down after walking and walking to find that perfect one. I waited too late this year and trees were scarce. I called around and thank goodness the Westwood Garden Haven had 2 and saved them for us. This year, the kids were working every weekend so I kept putting it off. Thank you to Christa at the WWGH because without her, we wouldn’t have these trees. They BOTH fit inside the back of our Outback.

We kept the smaller (3 foot one) and gave the taller one-5 1/2 feet to the kids. Here Jay is putting the topper on ours.

Yes, the goofball is on a stool for drama. He said it smells great. I’m glad to hear that because I can’t tell. I couldn’t remember where I’d put the box of decorations and lights since I put up about a tenth of what I usually do. We learned that the size of the tree doesn’t matter as to how good it smells. He said it’s just as wonderful as a bigger tree. This Christmas tree skirt is a must each year. I made it from inexpensive felt and buttons I had lingering around when we first got married. I always say that I’ll redo it in alpaca but never get around to it. Another Nativity set. This one finger puppets. The placement is all about balance.

I think this little tree may become a new tradition. We had to really decide which ornaments to put on it since there isn’t much room. I thought I took a picture of it fully decorated but my phone has been wonky lately and I think I do and then the photo is gone. That will be for tomorrow. We chose ornaments that Jack had made through the years, ones from some of our travels, and some special gifted ornaments from special friends. I’ll share some with you over the next few days. There are some really special memories on this tree and handling each ornament individually brings them flooding back. For once, this tree is filled with our family memories. I didn’t add any from my old family tree because we just had to be choosy. Here’s a Nativity from our Savannah family. Thank you! And another from another friend. And another.What other senses play a part? Sound, touch (ouch on the tree branches), sight. I headed to church in the morning yesterday for our annual Lessons and Carols service. It’s a wonderful service and usually full of music and feeling, but with no choir and the congregation singing in masks, the carols come away sounding muffled and less than exuberant. May God hear something I’m not. Who am I to judge either? I haven’t volunteered and can’t hold a note in a bucket, but still sing, even though about 35 years ago at another church, someone in the congregation asked me not to. She said, “Honey, I come to hear the choir. Please stop.” It wasn’t in Jtown. It was in Pgh.

The readers yesterday were excellent and I love to hear the scripture leading up to Christ’s birth, 9 in all, from Genesis to John. I love the repetition of it and the tradition. In between each chapter, there is a carol. My favorite is still “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and has been, since I was a child. I don’t know what it is but it just gets to me. After church we headed to our new tradition of having brunch at Eat’n Park and then down to H. Wonder Coffee and Records for a special cup of coffee. I read that GOOD coffee is a superfood and makes you more alert and stimulates your brain, but only good coffee. Madison only serves good coffee. Yesterday, because the Gallery booked a private event during the coffee shop’s regular business hours, they had to literally serve on the street. They had access to one small area of the shop to make hot coffee, but couldn’t get back to their stockroom and storage area (to get their warm gear) and it was frigid out with a little wind. Their customers couldn’t even go inside to enjoy their beverages, so for the duration of the event, they served from the street. They are a legitimate business renting space from the nonprofit Gallery and they definitely took a hit monetarily but I have to say that they have a dedicated following and made the best of an awkward situation. Their loyal customers still came and were served with good cheer. They waited in their warm cars for the best coffee in town. No food could be served except the excellent baked goods from Simply Good Catering. After the event, they could resume limited business back inside but Oy what a day they had. These hand warmers were hot off my needles and I threw them in my car in case they were needed and they were. We took the grand dog with us since we knew we’d be outside and walked him around the park while we had our coffee. He’s great at riding in the car and was thrilled with all of the sights, sounds and smells of the park. Back to the homestretch of Christmas week prep. It’s not a big buying Christmas here. I’m waiting for the “feeling”. Little kids help with that and tonight we are going to the kids’ house to help with that. They have some friends with little ones coming over to do gingerbread. I’ll have to search for some contributions. I DO love Christmas baking. It’s more fun and meaningful with little ones-to see the magic through their eyes IS the magic.

I almost forgot our Advent update. The Third King arrives on the fabric calendar. While the church calendar reminds us of the surroundings into which our Lord was born. What do you have planned? I’ll be finishing up some last minute orders.

The alpacas are enjoying the chilly (about 12*) morning but glad for the sunshine.

In the meantime, do something you’ve never done before. Find your passion and explore it. Every single day is a gift. I’m off to tend my passion.

Have a blessed day!