I'm having the loveliest Advent -- very peaceful and serene and low-key. So far my decorations consist of a wreath on the front door, my (artificial) tree with lights and no ornaments, my Advent wreath, and the very beginnings of my creche.
Here is the Advent wreath as I originally set it up this year -- you can see, very spare and simple, not low-energy, just calm. I've got plenty of purple and pink candles (some left over from last year), so I can burn it in the evening while I'm watching TV or writing in my journal. I haven't put a Christ candle in the center, but will do that, to burn from Christmas Eve until Epiphany.
Here it is with a little bit of dressing-up:
Just some green (artificial) apples, some shiny golden apple ornaments, and a single gold "icicle" that I found on my living room rug (no doubt carried down from my studio amidst packing materials used to prepare one special parcel. I don't know -- I kind of like it plain, now that I see the two pictures juxtaposed here. I may put those things in the middle away again.
I mailed Cheryl's package on Monday and scheduled to arrive at its northerly destination next Monday! I never get my packages mailed to arrive on time -- what is happening to me? I may be possessed by some angelic spirit!
Here's my simple little tree:
Perhaps it looks a little forlorn in this shot -- but when it's a little dark in the room and the lights are twinkling, it's a pretty sight, all on its own -- and I doubt I'll add any ornaments, unless I'm seized with a fever of Christmas spirit in the next few days. I've had lots of years without a tree at all -- maybe a poinsettia, or even a Norfolk Island Pine in a pot. And this tree has little red berries attached, and just a dusting of artificial snow. Next year when I get them out again, I'll appreciate my beloved tree ornaments all the more.
I honestly thought it would be just the traditional manger scene: family, shepherds, kings, a few animals. But I couldn't resist adding a few of the figures I have around the house, including St. Francis, Buddha, Guadalupe, and the plane that seems to have landed on the stable roof. My funny figures, all gathered around and waiting for the baby Jesus, always make me smile. I probably won't unwrap Santa, Elvis, the snack wagon, the park bench, or the street lamps this year...
but every day a few more figures find their way to Bethlehem:
Here you see a few more animals and figures -- the Infant of Prague, St. Patrick, the Virgin of Loreto (oh, wait, she was in the first picture), some cats, and a few more. If you click on the picture, it will open to a larger version. The Holy Family, of course, won't arrive until Christmas Eve (they're in the dining room right now), and the kings won't get there till Epiphany. The animals are already there, because that's where they live. This year's addition (I usually buy a new figure each year) was a dinosaur, there just left of the donkey. All of creation awaits the Christ child, after all.
So that's basically it. I'm not really energized to do elaborate decorating this year. I'm not depressed, but rather seem to be investing my energy in things like arranging to see my family sometime during the week after Christmas. I haven't been to Indiana during the Christmas season for years -- maybe decades! And getting packages into the mail on time, and tending my flock here. Last night we had a parish Christmas party, and it was lovely to see folks in their party duds coming together just to have fun, and because we like each other.
I also have time to do a little reading and meditating on what Christmas is really all about. It's a great way to be living in this frantic season -- by not being frantic. I don't have special foods to cook, or lots of gifts to buy (that's already done), or parties to attend. I do have some more wrapping to do, but it will get done all in good time. I've got a few cards to send, some of which will be electronic ones.
I hope each of you can find some quiet space in the season to just put your feet up and enjoy it all, rather than being too busy to notice that a miracle is happening.