Sunday, January 4, 2009

The end of vacation, not the end of Holiday

This is DH's last day of vacation; tomorrow it is back to the grind for both him and me come to think of it. I leave the decorations up through Epiphany, so I have one more week of joyous light in the house, then back to the usual Winter hum-drum. It always seems so bare and sparse (even with all my JUNK!) when everything is down and tucked away till next year. That is when the real sense of the dark of the year sets in.

Oh yes, they have all this stuff to decorate with for the in-between "non-seasons" but it has little appeal to me. Maybe it was because I grew up in the military--Army-- and spent Christmas and the extended holidays in Germany. Europe's celebration, at least at that time, was a gentler, less commercialized one, with the season starting at the beginning of December and lasting through, hmmmmmmm, was it Epiphany? It was long, with no hurry to move on to the next holiday. There was a sense of tradition that centered and grounded the holiday.

I remember being at the apartment on one of our German friends and who should appear as we were leaving but St. Nicholas! Armed with switches for the bad in one hand (Dad got chased into the car with those) and iced Lebkuchen for good children in the other (which I got) was absolutely magical. As an adult, I realize it was a kind old man, who grew a snowy white beard, donned a beautiful red robe over his slim frame---remember, this is Europe and not America--- and went into the neighborhood and made children truly BELIEVE.

The streets were so dark that night, dotted with the soft glow of the streetlamps and seeing the silhouette of St. Nick coming toward me was breathtaking. It was an experience hard to put to words. But it still lives in the Christmas lights each year; when the tree is up and covered with glass ornaments from about the world, from my Dad and Mom's travels via Uncle Sam, when I am cozy and content as the storms howl outside, as I sit and contemplate what Christmas is supposed to be about. Belief like a child; responsibility of doing for others.

Carry the light from this season in your heart all year; it doesn't have to go away.


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Talk to me Dahling!
I'm waiting, breathless...... ;-D