During the most wonderful time of the year, people pull out the symbols of the season. There are Christmas trees, menorahs, angels, Kris Kringles, and Advent wreaths. Then there are bells, stars, candy canes, and mangers. I would be remiss if I forgot the colored lights, blinking lights, white lights, and flashing lights. The biggest thing most people pull out, though, is cash from their wallets.
Given the commercial realities of the season and the stress of keeping all these symbols sparkling and blinking, it’s probably not a good time to start a discussion on “the reason for the season.” Some people might think they know what I’m going to say, but I’m not going to say the things they think. This isn’t a theology blog anyway.
At Christmas, I look forward to spending time with my family and friends; I also look backward to remember holiday times from the past. It’s a regular Christmas Carol at The Coop.
Even though I don’t decorate my extended stay condominium like Helen decorates Motel Four, I do have a few things I like to bring out. One year, I was celebrating “Advent” and I asked my father to make an Advent wreath for me. He cut a good-sized slice of a white birch tree and then drilled five holes in it, just as I instructed him, with some gadgets in his workshop. I glued a piece of red felt on the bottom of the “Advent” wreath so it wouldn’t scratch anything. It’s my favorite decoration and I load it up in the Jeep when I go home; I light it on Christmas Eve.
My father has finished a lot of my hair-brained schemes and projects in his workshop. It’s hard to imagine a time he hasn’t been there for me with his hammer and nails.
The ceramic tree? It’s a long story. One of my blog friends, SK, told me a better story about ceramic trees the other day, so I’m going to give this one to her. I hope she likes it. She shared a memory and it made her melancholy.
Melancholy is a normal feeling this time of year. The commercials are loud and it’s hard to think rationally when so many messages tell us to “live for today” and “spend, spend, spend.” There is a Tee Vee image of days and seasons that is hard to shake. It always points to some glorious $99 future; free shipping if you order today. There’s always a suggestion that whatever might have existed in the past isn’t quite good enough for the future.
The past, rightly understood, can be a good thing; I’m going to spend more time in it. It’s the best roadmap I’ve got today.
Where are the ghosts and spirits of the season taking you this year?