Although I struggle with the emotional side of Christmas and especially Christmas Day, I am totally into decorating and preparing for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. I love to make ribbons and if I say so myself, they are florist quality. Like a child, I enter shops bedecked with ornament laden Christmas trees, wreaths, funny Santas and snowmen, and creative decorations that spur my imagination into high gear. In the past five years or more I have made our Christmas trees. First there was the ladder tree-an old wooden ladder painted green. I arranged lights, ornaments, and twigs, to create a tree that celebrated the decorations and allowed for a spatial view of the ‘tree’ that included empty spaces that the viewer’s mind could fill in with their own imagination.
From there I progressed onto my crystal lamp tree. Taking lamp shades of various sizes and stacking them into a tree shape around a floor lamp trunk, I removed the material from the shades and hung a vast collection of glass crystals in all colors and shapes. Adding lights, the crystals sparkled and increased the magic of the lights. The crystals were the only ornaments. It was breathtaking, if I say so myself.
One year I made a tree on the landing of the staircase out of books stacked in a tree shape balanced on top of a trunk of books. Tiny battery candles that flickered were the lights on the edge of the book branches. I may need to do that again this year.
Our staircase is has been donned with handmade, handsewn stockings out of brocade material. They have unusual shapes, and mine has its toe pointing down. This is a memory of ours when I got stuck in the pluff mud of a marsh at the beach and Robert had to decide whether he was going to rescue me or the wire basket of blue crabs we had stealthily caught with raw chicken legs. My plaintiff cry, “My toe is pointing down,” changed his mind and as I am here writing now, I was saved.
In my two china cabinets I have collections of Santas in one, and nativities in the other. The nativity collection happened without forethought. It just happened over the years. I have every possible style and shape of nativities, yet, they all show the reverence and awe of God’s Greatest Gift to mankind. I leave both collections inside the cabinets all year-I just like them.
My parents have both passed and we are trying to sell the house. I try to make it there once a month, as I am the housekeeper now to the over four thousand square foot house-whatever did they need with that much house-and I also assist in the care of the sizeable yard. Yes, we have a hired yardman, but, as a gardener myself, I like to get my hands into the business of yard work, too.
Anyway, only days before Daddy went into the hospital not to return, he took me upstairs and rummaged through the Christmas decorations. He pulled out a stuffed square that had a crosstitch Christmas tree on the front. Inside was a music box. He turned the key and the tune Oh Christmas Tree filled that chilly storage area. His smile was that of a child still awed and delighted by the symbols and decorations of the Christmas Season.
Cleaning out the storage area the last time I was there, I went to that box of decorations searching for that musical ornament. I turned the key, and the song barely played. Determined, I took the ornament home and ordered a new music box and replaced it inside. I tenderly replaced the padding that protected the now new music box. Needle in hand I sewed up the back and turned the key. It played Oh Christmas Tree as it must have sounded when brand new. “Daddy, you and I have always loved the trappings of Christmas. I know you saw my efforts and appreciate my renewal of the ornament that gave you such pleasure.” It was the first ornament I put out this year, for Daddy and me.
Additions and changes have been made over the years, an artist, I must have a challenge. We’ll see what added preparations I create with loving hands for the birth of Your Son, Dear Lord.
These three kings not only brought precious presents for the Christ Child, they traveled a great distance to follow the star to Bethlehem.
We Three Kings Lyrics and Music by John H. Hopkins, Jr
We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.
Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, voices raising,
Worshipping God on high.
Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.
Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Sounds through the earth and skies.