Christmas Greetings from Our Home to Yours

David’s New England Village with Christmas lights and pine branches

I recently came upon a piece by Richard Rohr about the season of Advent that made me think. I especially like this part:

Remember, when we speak of Advent or preparing for Christmas, we’re not just talking about waiting for the little baby Jesus to be born. That already happened 2,000 years ago. In fact, we’re welcoming the Universal Christ, the Cosmic Christ, the Christ that is forever being born in the human soul and into history.

And believe me, we do have to make room, because right now there is no room in the inn for such a mystery. We see things pretty much in their materiality, but we don’t see the light shining through. We don’t see the incarnate spirit that is hidden inside of everything material.

“Mystery” is exactly the right word for this time of the year. In the darkness and in the silence, there is mystery. There is an extra measure of that this Christmas. Normally we think that next Christmas will be much as it was in the past or is now. A year ago we could not have imagined the changes 2020 brought in the way we celebrate Christmas or in the way we live. It is hard to imagine what next Christmas will be like. All we can do is wait for the light to illumine and guide us in what is to come. For now we live in that mystery. We wait. We hope. We mourn. And still we celebrate.

David and I, along with our sons, Paul and Tim, and Tim’s girlfriend, Niina, made the hard choice not to get together for Christmas this year, given the risks involved. We will miss them. We’ll likely be meeting online over Christmas weekend, but we won’t have the chance to meet over a sumptuous meal, nor will we have the chance to exchange gifts in person. I have a feeling if we’re able to meet in person next year, we will not be taking it for granted. Rather, we’ll be filled with gratitude for the sheer joy of being able to meet in person.

David and I discussed the possibility of not getting a Christmas tree this year. It was tempting to forego the ritual of going on the hunt for just the right tree for our living room. But then David said, “We should probably get one to make up for all the years you couldn’t have one.” So we drove to Singers Glen and found a smaller than our usual tree, but it still looks nice all decorated. Some of our ornaments date back to our first Christmas together, and others remind us of the times when our sons were little and they would help hang ornaments. Then there are those from their school years when they made ornaments from walnuts, paper, or wood. We still find a place on our tree each year for these ornaments infused with memories of Christmases past.

Then there is the setting up of the creche, which is one of David’s specialties. He also does the lights around his village pieces, and he strings the lights on the tree. I hang the ornaments and set up the other decorations, such as our candlelight “merry-go-rounds, both from Germany.

I’m glad we went through the effort of getting the tree and docorating. It feels festive, and it is a celebration of light in this darkest time of year. David and I both love sitting in the living room in silence with only the Christmas lights on. Perhaps it is our way of celebrating the mystery of Advent and Christmas. We look for the light that shines through the darkness and the silence.

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10 thoughts on “Christmas Greetings from Our Home to Yours”

  1. Nice christmas tree and creche!
    I have an advent candle. From December 1st to December 25th I light the candle.
    The advent candle is divided into 24 days.
    I wish you a blessed Christmas!

  2. What beautiful decorations! Not over the top, just simple and elegant. This has been an odd season, for normally I would be rushing from rehearsal to rehearsal and concert to concert. Frazzled and tired. This year is so much different with “virtual” choir rehearsals (our bishop here pulled back on in-person worship and now it is Facebook/youtube/Zoom) and more time to reflect on the year past and the light coming into the world.

    May you and your family have a Blessed Christmas.

    1. Denise, I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to hear from you. Thank you for the compliments… we enjoy our simple pleasures.

      It sounds like this year is more peaceful in some ways than years past for you. I’m glad if that is the case, but I bet you will be happy to gather for rehearsals and concerts in the future.

      Our community has not been gathering since March. Our ministers have become so creative in bringing church into our homes via YouTube, television for the folks at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, or via the radio. Fewer than ten people gather in the large sanctuary each Sunday morning for worship. They spread apart, wear singing masks, and use extreme caution. And still they feel like they’re taking risks with the latest surge in the pandemic.

      We’ll get through this together. Thank you again for coming by and telling a little about your life.

  3. Kathie Weaver Kurtz

    Just looking at your pictures makes me feel peaceful. I’m sorry I couldn’t step in the other day because I would have loved to do so. Maybe next year.

  4. Kirsten Mathiassen

    Dear Saloma
    I have often thought of writing to you and now it must be :)

    I wish you and your family a happy 2021.

    And better late than never: I want to thank you for taking good care of my daughter Trine when she visited you and David some years ago – she enjoyed visiting you.
    I would also like to tell you that every single day I enjoy looking at the beautiful bedspread trine brought home to me.
    – and the little wooden house she got from you and David is very very beautifully done – we enjoy it on our Christmas tree every year

    Trine is now a Young lady of 23 and will be graduating as a nurse this summer.

    Best regards from Kirsten

    1. Kirsten, it is so good to hear from you! I so much enjoyed meeting Trine, and glad to hear that she is doing well. She’ll make a good nurse.

      I love the little figurines that you and Trine gave us… I had those out at Christmastime also.

      I’m glad you enjoy the Amish-made quilt.

      I hope you write again. Please give my good wishes to Trine.

  5. Saloma, You may not see this since it was written a while ago, but i just want to say how beautifully its written. I think Christmas was different for all of us. we also got a smaller tree then usual and I didn’t go crazy with decorations like I usually do when i know all six kids and their families are going to be here. We watched our Christmas Eve service via Facebook live, just not the same.But the love of our God for giving us his one and only son is not forgotten. I like your last line. “We look for the light that shines in the darkness and the silence.” No truer words have ever been spoken.

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