It seems much longer than 12 months since we last celebrated Christmas. This past year has changed many things in our lives, including how we are allowed to gather with friends and family for special occasions. Are you as tired of all this craziness as I am?
Nevertheless, my house is decorated from top to bottom. My normal travel schedule had me returning home sometime in early December. This year, I've been home for months, much to my husband's amazement. What's more, I've had too much time to dig into boxes from the garage to find Christmas decorations I'd forgotten about. They ALL came out this year. Watch where you walk in our home, because you might trip over one of 36 nutcrackers, some of which adorn the stairwell. Or, keep your dark glasses handy to avoid temporary blindness caused by the 52 strands of turquoise Christmas lights strung over banister, mantel and tree. Oh, yes, and be sure to visit all THREE trees: one at the top of the stairs facing my bedroom so I may wake up in the middle of the night and view it, one in my husband's man cave that is adorned with chili pepper lights and western ornaments (Mike collects Indian art and bronzes). And then there are the Presepio. Or, in my case, Presepi, the plural form of Nativity Scene in Italian. Plural because there are 10 of them displayed in our home this year. They range from those I've collected in Italy, Israel, Mexico, France, and Australia. Each is different: each reminds me of a place in my memory.
Candles glow throughout the house. Christmas-themed tea pots decorate the kitchen. Christmas quilts, made by my mother and grandmother, adorn the beds. And, that's just the inside.
Actually, the outside is rather plain. We have a wreath on the door, garland up the steps, single candles in each window and a lazer light shining green dots on a tree. My husband is in charge of the outside: he's a minimalist. I'm in charge of the inside, so you get the picture. "Minimalist" is not a word anyone would ever use to describe me.
Bottom line: these decorations make me happy. They remind me of people who no longer are with us to celebrate the season. They resurrect bitter-sweet memories of parties, food, family, friends. They recall the precious times. After a year like 2020, we need to recall the precious times.
But we also need to remember the reason for the season. Whatever happens, whatever trials and tribulations we must experience, we know the end of the story. There is a higher power at work. Whether you believe that one day's worth of oil burned for eight days, that the small baby in the manger was sent to redeem us all, or that the end of our physical existence is "the end", we cannot doubt that there is good and there is evil in our world. Have we not seen both exhibited this year?
We know that good will overcome. We may rest and rejoice in that knowledge.
I especially like the Italian custom of displaying the nativity scene without the baby Jesus until Christmas Eve. Then, the child appears. And after mass, they have a feast of seven fishes. Because one of the fishes is eel, I tend to skip that custom and move on to the American tradition of Egg Nog with lots of "nog". Like the kind my mother used to make. No wonder our Christmas Eves were merry!
We at Bryson Broadcasting International want to wish you a wonderful Christmas season. Reconnect with those closest to you. Cherish the time. There is "light" at the end of the tunnel. Rejoice in the light!