Friday, December 25, 2009

Finding the Light

Today is Christmas Day 2009! Merry Christmas everyone and God's blessings to you all!

In a place of honour, sitting in the middle of our dining room table is this little Christmas candle holder I inherited from my Grandmother many years ago. It is very 1950s, made of porcelain and seen better days. There are three wise man around where you place a candle. When I first received it there used to be a star attached to a chain that you would slip onto the candle in the middle.

The funny thing is the wise men are not looking at the star - they are all looking (and heading) in three different directions. This is always a big joke to us. Whoever made this ornament simply missed the significance that the wise men were looking and following the star.

May you all find the Light of Jesus this season! If you can't seem to find it try turning around....maybe you are just heading in the wrong direction!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Tradition - the word itself evokes and number of reactions: stiff, appropriate, expected, warm, reliable, comforting. Tradition is right and tradition is wrong. Somewhere in the middle, like justice and mercy - there is a balance I'm always searching for.
I once had a conversation with an older women about how important tradition is to my kids. They want the same things we did last year at Christmas to happen this year. They want a Kindersurprise - it's tradition. They want Christmas cereal - it's tradition or to open one present on Christmas Eve. She replied, and this was a startling revelation, "well that's the way you raised them - tradition is important to them because that is what you taught them." I did not realize this. What if every Christmas, I had mixed things up and said "Let's do something completely different this year!" I wonder what kind of children I would then have raised. Too late - the job is done and I'm just being retrospective.
When we remove traditions it's like pulling the rug out and you lose your sense of boundary. Suddenly you have to search around for the new boundary. Is that such a bad thing? Probably not - they say you should try something new all the time.
But tradition truly has it's place - the warm comforting reliable sense it brings. It binds us together and is part of what family is about. I know at Christmas time I can rely on the the firemen pulling out the old firetruck and decorating it with a thousand lights that flash and bling at the firehall. I know there will be Turtles to eat and my Dad's cholesterol-killing Scottish Eggs. I know there will be Christmas music playing in the malls and the pathetic string of paper stars connected with straws I made when I was in Grade 1 will be at the back of our Christmas tree. Jesus himself encouraged us to continue the tradition of taking the bread and wine until His return - "do this in remembrance of me" but He also was seriously turned off with the traditions deeply set in the religious leaders.
So we are back to the balance of tradition. Not too far to the left and not too far to the right.
I hope you can find it yourself -for you and yours.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Guests Have Arrived!

There was a knock on my door the other day. So I opened it. There she was - Winter. She just "arrived" with very little notice. At first she brought me a beautiful landscape with intricately etched trees and branches contrasted against a baby blue sky. It was beautiful and I took pictures and thanked her for it.

But she is a petulant guest and before I knew it she wanted to party, raise a rumpus and make some noise. So she brought the whole region to a stop with her tantrum. Snow days for all the children, impossible driving conditions, snow, rain, freezing rain, the whole gamut.

And, if that was not enough, she invited a good friend of hers, the North Wind. Down plunged the temperatures, the lock on our front door whistles a mournful cry as it is buffered with an icy blast. Even Frodo my fur-lined feline who loves outdoors spends as little time as possible out there and whisks back in like a silver gray bullet when I open the door. The trees clack and clatter and the windows shake. I will be glad when she tires of his company and he goes back home for a while. Except for very brief moments, I'm cold all the time and socks, slippers and blankets are my constant companions.

Yes, winter has arrived in Canada. We have about 4 months together ahead of us so we had best make the most of it!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Good Day

It's a good day for this house cat. I woke up early, as I always do with the assurance that my house is full and all is well. Last night my daughter came home from University. So there she is sleeping in her bed, my son is sleeping in his, hubby is tucked away as is the cats and Amelia.
At this stage in life, when everyone is going in every direction it is a wonderful feeling to have your whole family in one place, safe and sound.
I know these moments will be few and far between. My children are grown up and making their own lives with their own plans. This is how it should be and I'm proud of them. It is not right or healthy for me to try to keep them all to myself.
But I do love having them around. I miss their presence and their spirit when they are away.
So I cherish these short-lived moments now when the we are all together, this single unit cell that will soon begin to multiply and grow into their own unique families.
Never forget that each phase in life has it's joys and value. Even those crazy times when you have little ones under your feet, never a moment to yourself, always a nose to wipe or a face to clean.
I'm enjoying my freedom and independence again. I'm enjoying the fact that my laundry has dropped to less than half what it used to be. If I want to head out the door I can without considering the problem of finding a babysitter. And I'm enjoying, right now, having the whole family together. It's a good day.