Small Christmas

My list of Christmas and Advent expectations and tasks has been quite small this year.

We have our Advent candles, just four.  (Although, next year, I think we’re going for twenty-five).  The children are the ones who remind us to light them at the supper table.  This is the first year that Devo and I aren’t the only ones singing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.  We are a genuine chorus of five now.

We’ve hung the stockings by the stairs with care.  And I’ve purchased the fabric to make Kiri’s stocking (kittens!), but haven’t gotten around to it yet.  She doesn’t notice, and Amelie has momentarily forgotten to remind me of this glaring oversight.

We have a very (very) small tree.  It’s round and squat. It has a string of lights.  And some ornaments.

Paper snowflakes that Grandma helped make.

This year there are no handmade dolls, no Christmas pajamas.  I have a (very) small stash of gifts tucked away in my closet, some of which are not yet completed.   One quiet evening is all I need.  Or, if this week follows tonight’s example, three or four not-so-quiet evenings.  (One handed typing, welcome, again, to mothering a baby). It’s just what this year calls for.

The girls have stuffed the stockings full of drawings, believing firmly in the benefits of lavish giving.

Gifts outside the family are apparently going to be New Year gifts, as I haven’t ordered the tins for the homemade lip balm yet.

We’ve been singing lots of carols.   We three kings of glory and art…

Our big holiday task was to make one batch of gingerbread men.  We made some time for them yesterday afternoon.  I made an extra effort not to rush through, but to prepare and enjoy (and then rushed through after the older kids tired of the fun, to the tune of crying baby and ticking clock).  It completely used up the time allotted for making a healthful, vegetable laden dinner, but what’s not to love about a gingerbread man alongside a green smoothie?

I have a hankering for cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.  But I have to cook lunch, too.  I ponder how much time I want to spend in the kitchen on Christmas Day.

We’ve been reading The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean.

I’ve been pondering Advent.  Making an effort to embrace slowness and darkness, as Renee suggests.  She says,

Is that why we rush around so much this time of year? Buying ourselves into debt, eating ourselves into sickness, scheduling ourselves into stress. Do we live this way to not feel the darkness?

And today, Devo, who knows me so well, sent me this ::

In the handful of days leading up to Christmas, we will have our hands full with the revels and responsibilities of the season. Yet, during that time we can pause long enough to listen for our own angelic messengers and God’s call to us. We will in the pausing and responding discover a world of wonders in which God whispers to us in every encounter, inviting us to be midwives in God’s creative birthing of our world.

How are you celebrating, preparing, embracing Advent and Christmas?





2 thoughts on “Small Christmas

  1. Aaaah. Simple is sounding nicer and nicer. I have gone from inspiration overload and excitement about doing so many things to extreme desire for quiet and peace. We have our three tomato cage lighted “trees” in the entryway, the advent calendar hanging that has been almost a complete flop, our Merry Christmas garland, and stick stars in the windows that Tim so kindly made. I have made two very unhealthy cookie recipes so far and have been thankful to give most of them away. 🙂 We went caroling tonight and have tried to read nativity books by the fire as often as possible. But the children, oh the children. It’s more of a wrestling match than a quiet listen. And early bedtimes cause us to miss many of the evening concerts and programs that we would otherwise enjoy.

    I love Renee’s words. Embracing darkness is hard for me. I get pretty discouraged about things, in general. Something to think about.

    Gifts — very minimal. Mostly for others, that really need toys.

    Baking with small children. Eeeek. A cloud of flour.

    I want to hear your family singing O Come together. Sounds divine.

  2. Laura, I loved your tomato cage trees – even told Devo about them. I hear you about trying to get these nice evenings going…we’ve managed ONE so far. Hey, maybe we’ll get O Come on our family recording (that we haven’t done yet, oops, better get out the list).

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