06 January 2013

Christmas Reflections

Today is the feast of the Epiphany, the day the three kings found the baby Jesus.  It is one of my favorite feasts.  The Church is still filled with the Christmas flowers.  In New Orleans, we serve king cake.  I make a point of keeping my Christmas decorations, especially the tree up until this day.  It is the twelfth day of Christmas.  Guess that means I will finally get my twelve drummers drumming.  Yippee!  This is a photo of the three kings in a nativity set that my mom made for me when I was a little girl.  Eleven years old to be exact.  It is one of my favorite Christmas decorations.  Each piece hand-painted so lovingly.

It is a dreary morning which is just fine with me.  I love to light the Christmas tree on gray mornings.  As a matter of fact our tree was lit all day yesterday it was so gray and chilly.  Just my kind of January day.  Now, sadly, it is time to take the tree down.  I don't exactly look forward to the job itself, but even more, I always mourn the absence of that majestic tree lighting up the corner of our living room so beautifully.

As much as I like this feast it is also a sad day.  It means the Christmas season is officially over.  It means all the glitter and sparkle of the season is relegated to the attic where it sits quietly for the majority of the year.  Today is an even better time to reflect than January 1st when the holidays are still in full swing.

Looking back it was a wonderful Christmas as usual.  Christmas Eve we had a nice party with my mom's family.  It is a tradition that all the aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins' children and now even cousins' children's children (!) get together.  It is always noisy...and crazy...and fun.

It was a wonderful Christmas even though our car broke down.  At 9 pm.  On Christmas Eve.  About 35 miles from our house.  But that's another story.

It was a wonderful Christmas because we shared it with a lifelong family friend, the priest who presided at our marriage.

It was a wonderful Christmas because we told the kids we are going to Disney during Mardi Gras.

It was a wonderful Christmas because we spent Christmas Day at my mom's house with my sister and her family.  Sitting down to the meal my mom (with lots of help from my dad) prepares makes anyone feel like royalty.  It is also the one time each year, I eat my ABSOLUTE favorite dish of - believe it or not- cranberry relish.  You have not LIVED until you have eaten my mother's homemade cranberry relish.

It was a wonderful Christmas because we continued our tradition of shopping and lunch the day after with 3 generations of girls- mom, 2 daughters and 6 granddaughters.

It was a wonderful Christmas because we spent the time between Christmas and New Years' with Mark's family.  As always, it was a time of talking, laughing and hanging out with lots of movies sprinkled in between.

It was a wonderful Christmas because we went to see Les Miserables.  One of my favorite books, made into one of my favorite musicals was made into a fabulous movie that left me speechless.  Well, only figuratively speaking.  I talked incessantly about it with anyone who cared to listen.  There is just so much to think about in this amazing work by Victor Hugo.

It was a wonderful Christmas because, no matter what problems are going on- in the world, or even in one's own house (stressful schedules, broken down cars, laying a grandmother to her eternal rest), we are still celebrating the birth of Jesus.

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans--and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused--and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.”
Sigrid Undset

Now on to Carnival Season.  Thank you, New Orleans!

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