This is my 150th post on this blog. One hundred came and went, and I didn't even notice. I certainly don't remember writing 150 posts -- maybe I should go back and count -- but no, I think I'll just trust Typepad on this one.
I can't believe that a week from right this minute I'll be at church for the Christmas Eve service. But gradually, I've been decorating my own abode; this Sunday we'll decorate the church, as well. We don't decorate the church till the Fourth Sunday of Advent, because we're a church that observes all the liturgical seasons, and it's important to observe Advent before we start celebrating Christmas. It's important to prepare well for something as important as the Incarnation of God.
The holly and privet that I had around my home Advent wreath were badly shriveled; it was depressing to sit and look at them when I ate my meals. Tonight I was looking at a few of my Christmas books, and had a brainstorm; so out with the old, in with the new! Here's the second version of the Advent wreath:
A bunch of ornaments, some I bought myself 42 years ago, that didn't make it to the tree this year. Actually, I must say, it looks prettier on the table than it does in this photo.
Another project, one of my favorites each year, is my creche or nativity scene. My basic creche was bought 15 years ago or so at Odds & Ends, a now-defunct precursor to Big Lots. But it's actually a pretty little, very conventional, porcelain set, complete with stable. Over the years, I've added to it. So far this year, the only creatures stirring in the stable are the animals; Mary and Joseph haven't even left Nazareth for Bethlehem yet, the shepherds are still watching o'er their flocks by night, and the wise men are wandering around somewhere in the desert, following the star. They don't arrive until Epiphany, the day after the 12th Day of Christmas, January 6. But animals are the ones who live in the stable, right? So here's the creche, day 1:
I especially admire the lion, the anteater (gray, on the right), and the dragon that lives on the roof. I love that the cement rabbit (rear left) and pig (rear right) are the same size, and both are bigger than the lion or the 3 elephants. And the John Deere tractor (sitting on the ledge of the stable, center-right) is smaller than the mouse right next to it (holding a piece of yellow cheese). I'm already smiling as I walk by. You can see that the blue snack wagon is setting up for business -- lots of food to be sold when the people show up to wait for the arrival of the baby Jesus!
Another thing I enjoyed doing this year was turning the lovely, enormous book that my parish gave me this year (in recognition of my 10th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood) to the birth of Christ, and it sits right below a print of the nativity window in the University of the South chapel.
There are other touches of Christmas here and there -- red votives on the mantel, a beaded snowflake in my study window, mistletoe hung, cards clipped to a garland, stockings hung by the chimney with care. Some folks love the frenzy of decorating all at once; I like the leisurely ritual of adding a few things each night in the two weeks or so before Christmas.
I've noticed all over the internet blogosphere that the Christmas "fashion" this year seems to be white, cream, white, cream, white. Everyone, simply everyone is decorating in white. I don't get it. For me, Christmas is the red-and-green season, and the heirloom season. I can't afford, nor do I desire, to buy a bunch of stuff in this year's "fashionable motif and color" -- no, I drag out the same old stuff each year: ornaments my daughter made, or my mother gave me, or I bought with my husband as a young married couple in 1968. Occasionally I add a thing or two (obviously the manger dragon is a fairly recent purchase), but this is mostly a season of fond memories, rather than a fashion statement. But in looking at those old Christmas books tonight I discovered something: in 2000 and 2001, white was definitely the color, as well. So if you do keep up with the current style in Christmas ornament, save them for 10 years, and they'll come back "in" again!
I mentioned before that I've joined a group called Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA). This is my third week following the food plan (imperfectly), my 5th for attending meetings, and all along I've been reading the materials and including them in my daily journaling. It was hard to begin thinking of myself as an addict; nobody wants to be that, do they? But I'm beginning to realize that the label applies. I'm realizing that the process of self-discovery and growth is more important than weight loss, though sticking to the food plan is part of the program. I don't know when or if the label will ever feel comfortable, but someone said at the meeting today: "If you don't acknowledge that you're sick, then you'll never put yourself through the inconvenience of getting well!" Ain't it the truth. Maybe I'm getting there.
Are visions of sugarplums dancing in your head yet? No sugarplums for me this year!