A Blessed Christmas and Joyful New Year to you!
I have found the remedy to hustle and bustle and the occasional holiday feeling of “ohhh...it’s over so soon?” St. Benedict’s Rule gives great wisdom and insight into balance and seeing God in every moment, but more on him later =-)
Another great discoverery in Orthodoxy -and antidote to busyness - has been in celebrating Advent, the coming of the Messiah. Advent is not an observance unique to Orthodoxy, but the weight and focus of anticipating Christ’s birth all season long (7 Sundays in Orthodoxy) vs. two celebratory days on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day has extended our joy and energies tenfold.
I’ve posted a photo of our kids’ Advent Calendar that we used this year for the first time. Each evening they opened a window which showed an illustration and a Bible verse relating to a different name for Christ, such as “Alpha and Omega”, “Christ, the Messiah”, “The Lamb of God”, and “the Rock of Ages”, to name a few. They really enjoyed it and I count it as time well spent before bedtime.
Some other highlights I want to remember from Christmas ’07:
* Hubby’s DELICIOUS meal on Christmas day, Beef tenderloin with black pepper crust and salad of new potatoes with roasted walnuts and warm bacon vinaigrette. Simple and extremely satisfying.
*The full moon on Christmas Eve - being outside in the quiet to watch and listen for sounds in the forest.
*Mrs. Bryant’s house (our elderly neighbor who pass
ed to heaven in November), as my sister and her husband put lights on the empty house as a loving remembrance.
*Witnessing a spectacular sunset as I was driving with the kids over Gauley Mtn. on December 21st- our gift from God!
*The gentle tap on my arm followed by “You are so pretty” from a beloved family member with Alzheimer’s.
*Feeding apples and carrots to the horses and ponies with my niece.
*Laughter ---especially with my sister! This is her gift to me, (a mouse-pad) which really gave my funny bone some exercise. =-) It's such a sweet comfort to be understood.....