Called by the scents of cinnamon and clove, I rush toward Christmas and the few shopping days I have left. These days are just icing on my cake since I finished all the necessary shopping weeks ago.
Wassail on a cold winter's night will warm the body and fill the air with the fragrances of Christmas. It is time to make this divine potion and my aunt's oatmeal fudge cookies. My husband is craving my sister's butterscotch haystacks so I will add these to my list of things to do. Good snacks for a road trip. Oh, if I could have his svelte body and eat the carbs he seems to crave. Some days his van resembles a rolling convenience store! :)
Our landscape is shining now with a lighted tree and tiny lights sparkling among the junipers and shrubs. Draped in ropes of evergreen garlands, the courtyard walls gleam in white lights while each post is tied with a red velvet bow. Poinsettias and gold grasses dress the entryway in Christmas cheer. A wreath I made 2 years ago accents the door and adds just the right touch. Mistletoe will complete the vignette and give us a place for stolen Christmas kisses and giggles.
We have lovingly brought home each ornament for our tree from places we have traveled or from shopping moments along the way when their beauty simply overwhelmed us. We began our collection long before we even married, when days and nights together were then bridged by Delta jets. Those days were hard ones. We had love and hate relationships with the airports and jets which brought us together yet were party to our cruel separations. It is more than a blessing for us to now enjoy our Christmases without the dread of each holiday's end. Instead we welcome winter's slower pace. We are eager for the cold nights by the burning logs where we will make plans for spring's garden while eating hot soup and drinking cups of hot chocolate and mocha. We are happy to see the New Year roll in. There is no "end" in sight - only beginnings ahead.
I am bothered during this season as I contemplate loss. I think of all the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, the children; think of the lovers and the friends, all those who no longer have the opportunity to share holidays with someone they love. I think of the men and women who have lost their lives serving this country, fighting a war which seems to have no end. I am angry and sad at such unnecessary loss. For all the loss, for all the unmet needs, for those who are lonely or afraid, hungry or cold, for those who ache with loss my heart is open and full.
We will find some blankets to carry to our Union Mission this week. I read an article that the natural disasters this year have created a deficit in local donations. Shoes, socks, blankets, gloves, jackets, warm underwear - all these are needed by someone who has nothing.
To all of you who read this entry, I send happiest holiday wishes. So, here is to wishing each of you a Very Merry Christmas!