‘Tis the Season

DSCF2361Full Moon Cottage has been dressed for Christmas over the past week. Objects encrusted with memories have been scattered around the rooms, and spirits we love have been fully welcomed back into our midst, not just those of our parents, who are always with us, but all those characters and places that populated our childhood stories: great-aunts and uncles, grandparents, friends, teachers, janitors, cafeteria ladies, bus drivers, piano teachers and the neighborhood personalities who bordered the edges of our days. DSCF2145 DSCF2212DSCF2201I can see the Park and Market grocery, and the ice skating rink, where tinny Christmas music blared as we glided round and round. I remember how Santa rode through town on a shiny red fire engine, so loaded with lights that I never stopped to wonder at the absence of his sleigh and reindeer. I never stopped to question any of the incongruities and obvious fallacies offered to us during the Christmas season. Every year, we were happily willing to be drenched in magic and readily surrendered our doubt to exist wholly in a world of fantastical impossibilities. Because they were true, at the heart level, where children seem to more easily live and breathe and have their being. DSCF2161I had a happy childhood, and at no time of year am I more grateful than during the Christmas season, when the flood of memories, visions, and smells mix with the magic of nostalgia, sparkle of winter, and the natural tendency to gather in towards light and warmth. For a month or two, I revisit those times and places that created me and allow me to treasure the present with greater depth. DSCF2465I’ve always loved Lent and its invitations to whittle away and purge in preparation for spring’s rebirth, but the rituals and traditions of Advent cheer my heart. They seem to counter and balance the season’s darkening and chilling environment so tenderly. The cinnamon, chocolate, orange, and anise smells of seasonal baking, the glitter of ornaments, the soothing and jubilant sounds of Christmas music, and the focus on the excitement of anticipation and joy: what could be better? DSCF2475So many spiritual traditions seem to center on light and gift in winter; it’s encouraging (“heart-centered”) that many humans get it all perfectly right once a year, anyway. DSCF2442 DSCF2193I wish we could resist the urge to allow corporate marketers to dictate the meaning of this season to us and their attempts to drive people into greater frenzy and stress and spending, instead of slowing down, gathering in, cherishing each holy moment. The heavy burdens of pragmatic doubt regarding the magic of the world, the pain of self-judgments, and the accepted need to replace our innate value with things, things, and more things we must endlessly buy, may be set down; we did not need these rampant desires as children and certainly do not benefit from them as adults. DSCF2178Christmas helps us retrieve the gifts of childhood, if we listen. A friend posted on a social site that she’d enjoyed a four-hour lunch with an old friend: Just to read it made me hopeful and happy for both of them, but for all of us as well. I know they pushed back against demanding jobs and demanding lives to make way for this time together and yet did so, valuing friendship above tasks. So, for now, I abstain from the entreaties to constantly shop, and from what is called “news,” and instead rest in the Good News always coming, always here: we are made of Love, embraced by Love, and asked only to Love in return, until to Love we return and with Love we merge. And that is enough. And that is everything. DSCF2096May the deep peace of the season gift you with a warm heart, clear vision, and a community of family and friends–and four-leggeds–to see, hear, hold, and enjoy. We are called to be merry; let us do so, drenched in magic and readily surrendering our doubt. Love reminds us we already exist wholly in a world of fantastical impossibilities. Joyeux Noel! DSCF2191 DSCF2183

18 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season

  1. KItty, I want to put a fruit loaf in the oven and finish my decorations! You’ve captured, in words and images, the essence of the season’s celebration. Thank you for memories and inspiration 🙂 Now its time to pull the boxes of decorations out of the closets . . .

  2. What a beautiful post, Kitty. Obviously, everyone, including the children, realized that part of the Christmas message was illustrated by the traditional stories, and that there was no need to be exact about the details. And what you say about the commercialism of the holiday is something most people agree with. Only the commercial interests don’t seem to get the message, and in fact, miss out on the beauty of the season. But we live in a commercial society, so we just have to go on with those wonderful aspects of tradition and love, and try to ignore the barking of the merchants through the media. Much love to you and yours.

  3. Thank you, Shimon, and bless you for the light you willingly shine and share. I value your visits and friendship across so many miles. Gentle peace today and always.

  4. Ahhhh, what a lovely, lovely post. You have captured the magic and wonder of Christmas so well. It’s good for us to think for ourselves and figure out what Christmas means for us all rather than rushing around spending money on things we don’t want or need.
    I totally loved to see all your fantastic decorations, how unique and special they are….I love your tree and the ice-skating boots reminded me of how much I loved to skate…
    I think I can smell your baking from here….marvelous.
    Wishing you and yours a wonderful run up to Christmas, looks like it will be a white one for you.xxxx

    • You are so kind, Dina; thank you, as always. Isn’t it fun to decorate for holidays? I think it’s my “fantasy” career, the one I never had but love to imagine. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve been attracted to vintage/cottage ornaments and displays…set the old sleds outside, too.

      Snow is falling today, lots of it: gorgeous and peaceful! Sending you love and virtual treats! Be merry.

      • Oh you and me both, I too love to decorate and am really attracted to the old and unusual….but I’ve never managed to acquire a sled….I remember seeing the pics of yours after you gave them a new lease of life. How wonderful they must look outdoors in the snow, sighs I….xxxx

  5. Oh Kitty,
    It all looks just lovely and oh so inviting…You shine through it all you creative soul you….I hope you guys are blessed with a wonderful holiday full of love and gratitude and I know the 4 leggeds will be pleasantly spoiled with treaties 🙂 Thinking of you and I am so glad as I have said before, that I stumbled into your kitchen for that wonderful soup recipe that day so long ago now….It was meant to be. Blessings to you….Much love…VK

    • Blessings and love backatcha, VK. You can probably tell my decorations are mostly vintage, recycled, upcycled, mixed and matched…more fun that way. 🙂 Great gratitude this year, that’s for sure, and I hope your own celebrations and gatherings will be full of light, love, and gentle peace. Sending virtual hugs to you and the 4-leggeds: How beautiful it must be in VT! 🙂

      • I love vintage and nothing should ever match! Each one holds a story to remember. More fun that way.
        Very little snow here yet….Hope it’s white for Christmas. My son and his girl friend will be here. First time we’ve had the holiday together in years! It will be nice to have the house filled for once:) Thanks…VK

  6. …and white, red & green wrapping paper. What color is mine, Kitty’s, Mike’s? What did you get in your stocking? How did he get here when all of us were at church?
    I play dad’s Christmas albums all season. They still sound pretty good on the old console. Merry Xmas to you & Philip oxoxox

  7. Thanks, Patrick! I liked the white tissue paper best, but Santa changed it every year, didn’t he? And left a letter so we could decode…Sweet memories! 🙂

  8. Oh how can I not add a little comment to this delicious, charming, absolutely wholesome to goodness post Kitty! As a little girl living in tropical Malaysia and reading about Christmas with all the scents and fragrance from the kitchen, a fire crackling merrily from the fireplace, fat snowflakes, magic, magic in the air. Well, Full Moon cottage must be right out of a book! I love your tree – what an art! You had fun didn’t you! 😀 Oh hugs! xx

  9. Thank you, Sharon; I so love your comments and the time you take to craft them with genuine kindness…I do have such great fun decorating and trying to be creative with recycled things rather than store-bought, Sharon…We do love Full Moon’s spirit and everything about the setting and views provided, outwardly and inwardly. It’s been a blessed home-space to share with our family, friends, and beloved 4-leggeds, that’s for sure, and not a day goes by that we don’t acknowledge its lessons and gifts with gratitude.

    I know, from your posts, that Malaysia has its own great beauty and gifts at this time of year, and I think when we simply and profoundly love our lives, the ones we’ve crafted and been given, rather than wishing away our “precious now,” the beauty of where we are is more tenderly and gratefully perceived, isn’t it?

    Joyful and gentle peace to your dear heart and to those you love this light-filled season!

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