From the best of all Christmas crossroads – a card shop – I was immersed in the many different twists and turns that local celebrants were traversing this December. I was reminded that Christmas is the one holiday that can provoke the deepest of senses: a sense of wonder; or simple merriment; or unbridled joy. Where, too, can exist much sadness, or an extremely profound loneliness, some of our cards and current gift selections seemed nostalgic in nature, encouraging a cacophony of youthful memories of far simpler times and similar experiences; by the time our customers reached the check-out counter, the entire spectrum of fleeting emotions had merged into a common understanding and some unspoken messages of peace and goodwill, compelling many of us celebrants to encourage one another! Smiles, a few promises of keeping each others’ families in prayer, and the customary decorum of the season suggesting each to voice a Merry Christmas! and Take Care! nourished our deepest desires as we bid each other goodbye.
I was participating in several meaningful conversations during each day’s shift; my worn-weary soul was tired because my intuitive tuning fork was ingesting too many hearts’ sadness. So, when it came time to spend a little effort at home this holiday, I kept it a simple goal: I would bring out only a few decorations and call it a Christmas Day.
My mind racing as always, I chose some odd combinations of pieces from the well-used tubs marked Christmas. I carried them inside and yes, as always, I never choose the same place twice for any item’s display. Gee…this just might be easier than I thought, as I affixed old ribbons onto the stair rail to secure a keepsake. I was hanging my precious Wreath of Joy; the small lights brightly spelled out “Joy” from permanently adhered, “blue painter” taped sockets. A Martha Stewart design this was not.
My son-in-law had surprised me our last Christmas in California with his humble gift of love; he had taken an extra string of lights from some leftover decorations. He fashioned the simple message “Joy” with what materials were on hand. To my surprise, I returned from shopping that afternoon and saw “Joy” blinking from the inside of our front window on Esteban. I transferred the light string onto an artificial wreath once we moved to FrogHaven, but my son’s-in-law simple handiwork, the taste of a martini, and the gesture of our little grandson offering big-boy “Cheers” to all who joined us that Christmas Day cocktail hour makes me smile every time I light my wreath.
As are many when tired, I can get a bit playful in the moment. It didn’t take long for my silly wheels to kick in. Plagiarism and irony are good for this creative soul, I assured myself. Besides, it’s a very cheap form of entertainment (which is entirely WHY I talk to myself; I prefer my own answers). A once popular country tune breached the rusty locks of my mind…
If we make it through December,
Everything’s gonna be alright come income tax time—
In pure Red Skelton fashion, I chuckled at my own lyrics. Now, that‘s funny! But then, so were the choices I had, digging into those tubs. In the midst of what had seemed an overwhelming year, some Christmas tide delights awaited me. My creative juices were running and my spirit was quickly returning! A variety of treasured keepsakes emerged from the trial and error years of varied decorating styles: country, city sophisticate, bold contemporary, nostalgic retro and other Christmas themes were going to blend well enough to evoke an eclectic mix of reverie…
Deck the walls with frogs and folly
La la la la la, and a ribet or two!
See what makes this Frog Broad jolly
La la la la la, here’s a glass for you!
Thank you, God, for a heart of gratitude, a sense of humor, and the comforts of tradition! Guide us as we share a fine-tuned joy with all who grace our hearts and home during this joyous of seasons. Awaken our hearts to the many blessings and gifts we already have, and keep us mindful of the power of prayer. May we continue to encourage one another throughout the coming year. Amen.
Annette Brochier Johnson 2013