Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas is here! Advent - well, the stores can't

find it. I searched in vain yesterday for advent candles in Target and Wal-Mart. No such luck. My advent wreath holder is packed away during our house renovation. But, I was gonna get some candles of some kind - all I could find were scented candles - vanilla white and freesia purple. And, they smelled so loud just picking them up that I knew we couldn't stand them in the small condo.

But, I did enjoy looking at the new Christmas ornaments - so beautiful and glittery - and plastic. Another woman and I were staring at some of the stuff together and began talking about ornaments that we loved and owned. Of course, I had to mention my miniature Christmas trees. I began with one in 1988 when I knew I was going to seminary the following Fall. Hallmark had just come out with them, and I bought a tree and a few ornaments that year. The following year in school, I bought two ornaments only. The next year was the same. But, in the intervening years, I have added six trees and the requisite ornaments for each. I have a Santa tree, an animal tree, and five others without themes.

Some of the ornaments are pieces of jewelry that hold a lot of meaning but I just don't wear them any longer. An oblong rhinestone drop that a friend gave me when she graduated from high school and we moved to another town. A little red slipper that once was a pair of earrings my Dad brought home from French Morroco. A silver snowflake, also one of a pair of earrings from my late sister-in-law, Sue-Sue. A Coke cap from Guatemala. A tiny doll from Honduras. A roadrunner tie tac that I brought home in the 60s from Arizona. My first Swarovski crystal snowflake. The ornaments and tree from my Mom after she died. A tiny honeysuckle vine wreath that I made the year we lived on sweet potatoes and crab (that's what people gave away in South Alabama).

This year, I'm adding at least one more tree with ornaments that I've bought on eBay. And, I did buy a few Hallmark ornaments. But, Hallmark is now packaging their miniatures in groups with themes. And, I don't like that much. I liked it when they did individual pieces in series. I have all the tractors and all the ice cube buddies and most of the motorcycles and all the trains. Now, you have to buy them all together. And, fewer choices.

All my boxes for the Hallmark ornaments are carefully stored away so that whoever inherits my stuff can sell them appropriately. I was disappointed to find that one set of my eBay ornaments had price tags stuck to the boxes, but I'm gradually getting them peeled off without damaging the box. Tells you what a stickler I can be, doesn't it?

We've had a tree trimming party since 1999, when my partner and I merged our ornaments. We prepared food, invited people, and watched all the fun. And, those ornaments have grown, too. We usually get an ornament on each trip we take...no matter how close to home - well, more than 200 miles, say. Now we've added boats and beach symbols, and I may hang a piece of something left from the renovation. A broken frosted light fixture might provide just the right piece if I used the drill sander to smooth its edges and drill a hole. And, yes, I know to keep the piece in water while I'm doing that. Thanks for reminding me.

Meanwhile, I've been busy selecting things to go in the "stockings" that I prepare for those who visit us over the holidays. Actually, I use popcorn tins and stuff them with useful things like socks and funny things and nostalgic things and things I've made. The floor on one side of my bed is covered with that kind of stuff - but the tins are in the garage at the house. I guess I'll get them so that I can start sorting and make sure that I have everyone covered.

Today, I'm grateful to have these things to do. Today, I'm thinking of the food kitchens, the AIDS Care Service, the animal and land preservation projects, the homeless people and animals, and those who are ill.

Today is Christ the King Sunday in our church. A note from the Geranium Farm reminded us to think about what the world would be like if the reign of Christ was fully here.

6 comments:

Cecilia said...

There is a clash of cultures every year at this time... popular culture trying to invoke in us a desire for the "stuff" of Christmas, and the Advent season prompting us to holy longing. It sounds to me like you find joy in both places, which seems to me the ideal balance...

There! Now you don't have to read my December newsletter article.

Pax, C.

eileen said...

Push and pull. Give and get.

Giving is the meaning of Christmas - recognizing the gift God has sent us, and imitating the gift the Magi brought to the babe.

It's just that we're nutso with all the giving.

I used to love the Christmas season - it was magical for me.

Now..it's alot of work.

And, I learned something today. I didn't know about keeping glass under water while you drill it.

Learned something new!

Linda McMillan said...

Aha...That's the connection between Christ the King and Advent. In Advent we wait for the Reign of God... Christ the King gives us a preview. I've been mildly irritated all week because they didn't logically go together for me. Thank you Sharecropper.
Lindy

Saint Pat said...

Then we won't have to worry about finding Advent candles and stuff! I have not been able to find my Advent candleholder, and dread the ordeal of going into the packed stores to look for one. Maybe I should go online - even most of the Christian-oriented shops around here are geared toward more firmly Protestant items.

Happy pre-Advent! (grin)

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