What is Christmas to you? To some folks, it's just another day. To others, it's all about stuff....commercialism and sales and earthly "stuff". Or Santa and elves and toys. And to others, it's a birthday celebration for the namesake, Christ. There are numerous holidays around this time, I discussed Hanukkah, and the Winter Solstice etc. But Christmas is supremely special as is Easter. In fact, you really can't have one without the other. After all, as the Bible says,
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this [will be] the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
It is the greatest gift ever given, and I LOVE celebrating birthdays!
So this has me also thinking about the things I love about Christmas. I hate the commercialism and "stuff", and I don't step foot in a store after Thanksgiving. For me, besides Christ, it's about family, tradition, life and joy, and of course...FOOD.
I make wassails in my tea pot, a mix of water, sliced orange and lemon, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Just bring this to a slow simmer through out the day makes you think of all things warm and cozy. Beautiful orange pomanders with cloves hung around and the scent of a fresh pine tree fill the air. Add to it the smells of cooking and baking Christmas goodies, and the smells wrap you in a comfy warm blanket of comfort, safety, tradition and and anticipation. I also love Christmas decorating with lots of lights. I LOVE Christmas lights and thankfully, here in the country, many folks do up pretty displays that we'll ride around to see. It is a such a bright spot in the otherwise dreary winter landscape. It's also a time for family, and we all get together on Christmas Eve with a finger food buffet and go to church for the Christmas Eve service, which is one of the most beautiful all year. Christmas Day brings the Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Special things you don;t get all year round always make this an anticipated meal.
There have been lean years some time ago where I couldn't afford a tree, or presents, or a Christmas Dinner. But I still had my family, health, a warm house and clothes on my back, and according to recent statistics, that made me among the top 7% of the wealthiest folks in the world. Sobering.
I'll share a few pics of my decorating this year......it's nothing grand but always cheers me up. When I was growing up with my folks on the farm, we always had a Christmas Brunch. This gave us time to do the milking and get the animals all squared away, then we could come up to eat and unwrap gifts etc. As a rural kid back in those days, it was special to get fresh citrus, Canadian Bacon and other goodies that some take for granted, at least here in the East. Some folks just look at me funny when I tell them about those days. It was wonderful.
The supper was for friends we had over one night, a fish supper. A seafood supper with tossed salad, parsleyed potatoes, grilled marinated tuna steaks, diver scallops in lemon butter, and cod fillets done in butter and old bay, home made pumpernickel bread and butter, an olive and herb cheese ball with crackers, and home made coconut custard pie!