Thursday, December 1, 2011
Christmas on a Clothes-Line
On a bright, cold day last January I washed up all the Christmas linens I'd used over the season and hung them out on the line to dry. When I saw them flapping in the breeze, their bright Christmas colours glowing in the sunlight, I thought, there's a blog in there somewhere.
So, here I am, at the beginning of December wondering what I saw in the beginning of January that tells of Christmas.
First are the table linens. I don't recall any reference to feasting in Bethlehem but in my part of the world, we use food to celebrate just about anything. But the Christmas feast is special. I have table linens reserved just for this occasion. All of the food is traditional. Everyone brings her best dish. We expect turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and turnips. If any of those ingredients is missing, the feast just doesn't measure up. Around the table, we share the gifts of love, joy and hospitality.
Then I see the tea towels. There are a lot of them. I use them to decorate my kitchen and to remind me that there is a lot of baking that needs to get done. They are also a symbol of the fellowship around doing dishes when the feast is over. Out in the kitchen, we kick off our high heels and tie on an apron. Memories and love flow over and around us. We pick up a certain bowl and tell the story of how it came to be in the family. We make a joke about dads and uncles who flooded the floor with suds when they used dish detergent instead of dishwasher soap the time they did the clean up. We wonder if they did it on purpose so they wouldn't be pressed into kitchen service again. We share our sorrows of the past year and our hopes for the new one. We speak of children and grandparents and loved ones who can't be there. as the tea towels grow sodden and new ones take their place, we share the gift of kinship and peace
The tree skirt hangs on the line. What is Christmas without a tree and all the mysterious parcels underneath? I love having the tree up. The scent of pine, the twinkle of lights, the ornaments passed down through three generations -- these all bring Christmas into my heart. Around the tree we share the gifts of patience and generosity, and self-control.
And there, on the end of the line, is a cozy Christmas throw. The one I snuggle under when the big day is over. When we sit replete and exhausted before the fire. Well, maybe not totally replete. We're probably munching on turkey sandwiches. We'll sing a carol or two. We'll read a favourite Christmas tale and we'll end with the second chapter of Luke, in the King James Version, hearing the timeless poetry that says so much more than the words themselves. At the end of the day, we share the gifts of faithfulness and goodness.
So there is what I saw on the clothesline at the beginning of a new year -- the fruits of the Spirit, all hung on the clothes line of God's love for his people.
Love, joy, peace and hope to you all this Christmas.
Alice Valdal is a huge fan of Christmas in all its glories. Right now she is directing the Christmas musical at her church -- AGAIN!
She also has a new Christmas story up at her website.
Check it out at www.alicevaldal.com