Thursday, December 20, 2007

welcome winter:
On this official first day of winter I cannot help but reflect on winters past as our daughter was growing and we held "welcome winter" parties. I got the idea from a book I read that was written by missionaries who wrote of Christmas celebrations in countries to which they had been missionaries. Certainly the commercial aspect was de-emphasized. Just a couple of things I remember them suggesting were the ideas of no toys that were violent in nature and no toys that were requiring batteries. Wow - practically impossible these days. For younger children it makes much better sense. I still go with the idea of letting them use their own imaginations.
The idea that really caught my attention was that of trying to spread out Christmas and the entire season and not making it into a one day celebration. Saint Nicolas day is celebrated in Humboldt typically with a visit and treat bags for the children. This year there was actually a parade. I have no idea how that turned out because the day was bitterly cold. Our very spoiled (I mean privileged) daughter received a gift from St. Nik for many years. I actually had something for her this year too but she happened to be in a really terrible mood after school so I chose to have St. Nik not visit this year. After all she is 16 years old. She was quite perturbed when I pointed out that it was St. Nik day and he had not left her anything.
The authours also wrote about celebrating the twelve days of Christmas referring to the days beginning on December 25, and after Christmas leading to Epiphany. One year we gave our daughter, Cat, little gifts for each of the 12 days of Christmas. We also for many years did advent candles, not in a wreath but in a basket.
The welcome winter party was suggested for the first day of winter, December 20. Because it is the shortest day of the year candles were recommended. We had great celebrations on these occasions. If the weather was decently warm we had the festivities outside. If it was very dreadfully cold or stormy we met inside. We had babies some years together with other ages . Games and popcorn were typical. Apple cider was frequently prepared. Seems to me one year we had about 30 people. Sigh. These days I shy from inviting one or two people at any time. But that's another story.
I nearly forgot to draw your attention also to this story written by my poet friend Tom Sketching. It fits so aptly with what I am trying to say: Christmas in the Yucatan.

In my tendency to look for time to be still and contemplate during this advent season, I took a little excursion yesterday to St. Pete's at Muenster. I was going to visit a friend but also took the opportunity to walk in the beautiful grounds. The trees are fabulous and the angels must have been with me because I'd planned the day about a week previously. Yesterday happened to be a most glorious sun drenched day while we have been blessed with much cloud and fog otherwise. It was also probably one of the most warm days in the past six- eight weeks. And so I snapped away. Especially peaceful moments came when the chickadees and a nuthatch or two came very close by. It is a favourite visiting place for many folk that love nature and the critters. The birds frequently are fed by the visitors. While I had run out of time to bring food along for them, I certainly encountered the birds. I was not really able to get photos however. They preferred to sit on my hat, the camera or the tripod. One seemed to want to give me a kiss. God was truly speaking to me yesterday.
Please enjoy some of the beauty I encountered while you watch this slideshow. Please click on "original view" in top right side.

Angels be with you,


allthingsreally said...

Hi Wendy, I left you a comment, well I tried but this new system doesn't seem to accept LiveJournal!! :-(
Have a super Christmas x

KarenHarveyCox said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Blessings, Karen

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