Saturday, December 23, 2006

Winter, Anticipation, Preparations, Greetings and GREAT JOY!


We wish you and your family a “Bonne Hiver”!

The season of winter became official last Thursday evening at approximately 7:22pm.

WINTER is a favorite season for many, the season for those picturesque, chilly and cold looking snowy landscapes, great myriads of showy calendar pages when flipping over the next few months.

WINTER is a time of digging into the hat and glove baskets again, keeping one of each nearby at all times.

WINTER is a time for....

- Snow tires and antifreeze

- Seeing our breath in the cold outdoor air

- Feeling the mushy ground under foot

- Warming up the vehicle before attempting to get out and about

- Being thankful for the feature of seat warmers in the new van!

- Making snowmen and throwing snowballs.

- Icicles hanging from the rooftops

- Scrapping ice from windows and warming up key locks.

- Hot chocolate to warm up any body.

- Hockey games and the hope of backyard ice skating arenas

- Being aware of icy or slippery steps

- Skeletal trees with the moon shining through their limbs

- Incredible clear starry nights

- Warmer coats

- Warmer feet both in and out of the home.

- Throwing on a small blanket when reading on the couch.

- A toasty warm fire in the fireplace.

- A whiff of warm apple cider or cranberry candles filling the air with their aroma.

- A hot cup of coffee, spicy gingerbread tea or a cold cup of creamy, thick eggnog

- Peppermint ice cream (my hubby’s favorite all time crème de glace.

- Chap Stick and extra moisture lotion all over.

- Japanese and Mandarin oranges.

- Static electricity in the hair, or shaking hands and shocking someone in the process.

- The dreaded static from nylons making your attire cling sorely to the shape of your legs and butt.

- Winter sports are in full bloom. Bring out the snow pants!

- Slowing down a bit from the hectic pace of life

- Hoping to be snowed in to have the "calm" from the hectic pace of life!

WINTER is a great opportunity to follow these wise words;

"There is nothing like staying home for real comfort."

~ Jane Austen

WINTER is also a season where the natural church year begins fresh and anew, firstly with Advent nearing its end offering us new beginnings and anticipation, followed by Christmastide, a new calendar year the first day of January becoming official, while Epiphany awaits the Three Wise Men making their way to the Christ child that day, and soon, very soon, Valentine cards will become the craft of the day made for February’s earmarked date to remember loved ones.

All in a winter’s season….a season of winter, anticipation, preparations, greetings and GREAT JOY!

There are just so many blessings upon us during this time of year, one all folks struggle with however, especially in the face of the ever growing world’s materialism, secularism, and those accepted ideals continually invading the holiness of this day before us - Christmas day.

I personally find that there is so much to pray for at this time of year!

I personally love the goodness mankind exudes and offers perfect strangers overall, this time of year. Let's do it year round!

I personally find there is so much to hope for, though I know too, not all people are joyful at this very same time each year. Circumstances beyond their control have given them incredible hardships, loss of loved ones, and often crosses too tough to bare during this season.

These past few days, the green Grinch himself has attempted to continually invade our home, blasting and misting an invisible shield into the air with his negative poison as we run like silly people, swiftly blowing it all outdoors, so it doesn’t literally grab hold of us by the throat and make us gag.

Each year, families we’re familiar with, keep their eyes and hearts focused with a plan, and an ideal dream of a Christmas time together, firstly to celebrate the reason for the season, keeping the day holy and secondly, to spend quality time bonding with precious family. This year we knew we’d have our family separated for this upcoming special day, and certainly no other special friends are at hand to share it with, but we were prepared with a plan.

We resolved early on, being quiet at Christmas is a good thing and there’s nothing wrong with having this day unfold this way. Today however, when the Grinch appeared again, attempting to send us into a deep dark despairing plunge into self pity, with a confirmation via email that hubby was to work this Christmas day, along with other management and their employees, it was merely to appease the clientele for ensuring there would be no “drop in profits” from looming unattended deadlines.


I must confess that I rose this morning, literally on the wrong side of the bed! I knew in the back my mind this may happen before today, and also began to conjure up ways we could still make a memory this year on this holy day, maintaining some form of togetherness. Somehow though, when I placed my feet on the cool wooden floor beneath my bed early this morning, the reality of the circumstance hit me like a ton of bricks! Although appearing brave earlier this week, I was so hoping for another kind of celebration.

I gathered my wits about myself, hours later, firmly resolving to keep a positive nature, and rid myself of all my angry and bitterly disappointed attitudes. This was not something I could be proud of, oh no, rather this was not something that should precursor such preparation in my heart to meet the wee babe in the manger. With attitude (eventually) turned around, I decided to focus on the “what,” instead of the “why” (why, why, why!!!). I made a mental check list, ticking it twice (hee hee), and came up with a great motivating plan of action, and listed all the possibilities for what the order of the day could entail to benefit everyone here.

I corralled the children and had a family meeting while hubby was away at work today, as work has been intense all week long taking him from the home creating extremely long days filled with mental and emotionally draining checklists for deadline completion. As each item became complete and the light at the end of the tunnel seen, yet another email would arrive with yet another report would be requested - due that very day…all five days preceding today’s.

Yes, oh yes, it is great to brainstorm within this family, and as a result of our meeting today, tomorrow holds much promise! After morning mass tomorrow, we will tend to as many items in advance as possible with regards to meal planning, so we can transport our Christmas meals, both traditional brunch, and turkey dinner, to my hubby’s office!

You heard me right folks!

Christmas day will begin with morning Mass, out the door early. When arriving home later, we will usher in the holiness of the day by placing our baby Jesus (all five of them!) into their crèches and thanking God for yet, another chance to wish the wee babe, a Happy Birthday. Our daily meal fare will be packed with all our other necessary items, picnic style!

Like the babe in the manger, we will not be in the comfort of our own home, with the warmth of the fireplace this year, oh no. We will be in a cold, often sterile board room, gracing the huge table with a tablecloth or two, candles in the center on a small mirror to bring the light and glow of those candles into the room to create some ambiance.

Our favorite nativity scene will also be packed up and traveling with us, placed near the candles, reminding of the reason for the season of course.

As well, a birthday cake will be coming along, complete with candles for all of us to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, a family tradition. But I will personally feel ever humbled to sing and blow out the candles on the cake, as both HE and I share this special occasion together.

Christmas music will fill the air when we plug in the small boom box we’ll tote along and the variety of lovely music cd's to place inside for the duration of the afternoon. Our song sheets will also be in the packing, should we decide on our traditional and spontaneous family sing-along.

Not one of the children felt anxious at all when I mentioned that the gift opening would wait until later in the day, though they would be packed and coming with us. While eating our scrumptious and nutritious blessing of food, we’ll open them later in the day, when their daddy has completed his mandatory afternoon conference calls.

Truly, a corporate workplace can offer a heartless decision for those it depends on to keep it's coffers loaded, specially at times such as these this time of year. A split decision can ruin a special and holy day for a corporate family as a whole, but this year, we refuse to allow the decision to break our family apart, no, they will not rob us of our special day - oh no!

We’ll wish others who may have to work later in the day a Merry Christmas too, bringing along our treats offering them good cheer as they begin their shifts and our best wishes for the difficult day they too must be encountering. We told the children there would be others there too later in the day, who were also being separated from their loved ones and the reason for the day, just like us, though their families would be at home alone without them. They are actually looking forward to the possibilities this day will offer our family now. We are smiling tonight as this idea has progressed this day. The turkey is unthawing, the other meal items at hand, and ready for action tomorrow.

And, at the very end of our upcoming Christmas day, hubby and I will offer our thanks for the odd sort of memory we’ll create as a family together in his office building.

O come Divine Messiah!

O come, Divine Messiah,
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

Dear Savior haste!
Come, come to earth.
Dispel the night and show Thy face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.
O come, Divine Messiah,
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

O Thou whom nations sighed for,
Whom priest, and prophet long foretold,
Wilt break the captive fetters,
Redeem the long lost fold.

Dear Savior haste!
Come, come to earth.

Dispel the night and show Thy face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.
O come, Divine Messiah,
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Have a blessed and holy day filled with peace, love and joy!