Hello from just over the hilltop with the last journal of 2015. We awoke this morning with the first real snowfall of the year along with temperatures in the teens, wind, and sleet. It makes the landscape beautiful, the daylight brighter, and walking more dangerous. But we are careful and appreciate the mild December we did have.
Dick and I walked into the village Christmas Eve while the moon was full, the stars brilliant, and the night quiet for the midnight service at the Methodist Church. We sang in the choir singing Dick’s favorite ” Little Town of Bethlehem,” along with “There’s a Song in the Air.” After the scriptures were read and more singing the service ended with the candlelit singing of “Silent Night.” Such a powerful image of the night Jesus was born. “All is calm, all is bright” was embedded in my thoughts as we walked home past the neighbors’ beautifully decorated homes, no cars traveling by, and only the stillness of the night with the stars and moon so bright. It was such a glorious evening.
Christmas Day we spent with our friends, Dave and Judi, and Kathy and Paul, relaxing and just enjoying one another. Our families are scattered and gather on different days so this was special for us. That evening we took the gifts that our grandchildren had made over to Eric’s and Andrea’s where we also had dessert. Dick had guided and helped Matthew make two boot jacks to aid in removing those wet winter boots. The others had made felt ivy-shaped napkin holders, pipe cleaner candy canes and Norwegian woven baskets for the tree. This is always a special time for us and I think the grandchildren enjoy it, too.
she always called to sing “Happy Birthday” to him
Dick’s birthday falls on Christmas and though he doesn’t mind, it seems to get lost in the activities and celebrations of the season. The one person who never forgot was his mom and she always called to sing “Happy Birthday” to him over the phone. (sorry, I’m crying as I write this) Having someone sing to him made it officially his birthday , even if it was stuck in quickly among the festivities. Though I had said happy birthday, I didn’t sing to him until the next day. He smiled and all is well, but I know he misses his mom.
We are now in the middle of the twelve days of Christmas, something we started many years ago when our children were very little. We canceled or postponed personal meetings or activities for those twelve days to reinforce and show the children we were committed to them. Earlier in the month, on our anniversary, we would relight the candles on our wedding centerpiece and reaffirm our vows to one another in the presence of the children. Once again reminding them that we were committed to each other and we were not ever going to separate or divorce.
Twelve Christmas Days
Anyway, we decided to slow Christmas down and years later discovered that it was a Scandinavian custom to celebrate until January 6, Epiphany. We would gather around a twelve candle centerpiece Dick had made, lighting a candle for each day. We would recall and record the blessings we had received as a family unit throughout the year, draw from the Christmas cards to read and pray for the person or family, and then do something special. Sometimes it might be a gift, sometimes ice skating, sometimes a pajama party. We even used these twelve days to research and decide our summer vacation and all the places we wanted to visit. Such precious memories.
we were stuffed into that house and garage. Oh, so much fun!
On New Year’s Eve, we would invite other families and friends for a pot luck, games, and playing Yankee Swap. The biggest turnout for New Year’s was after we moved to New York and lived on the farm. I believe there were over eighty that took part in Yankee swap and that was those that brought a gift to play the game! There were more than an hundred guests that night and we were stuffed into that house and garage. But oh, so much fun! And one year our friends Fred and Roberta made and brought a pinata to the party for the children to break. Once again – precious memories. Now Dick and I are adapting to our newly designed twelve days of celebration and making new memories.
Well, I deviated a little from my original journal thoughts so I will save Garrett’s “you could keep walking” story until next week. Until then may the past year’s memories bring you smiles and may your dreams and goals be realized in the coming year. Hold fast to that which is dear to your heart. Lovingly, Sharon