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Church Christmas Pageants

Three wisemen
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This morning I was struck with the memories of our church Christmas pageants. Held on Christmas Eve, the pageants told the Christmas story performed by all the children in the community.

Our community had two small churches of different Christian denominations, but the pageant often included the entire community.

Shepherds were dressed in loosely wrapped white sheets, carrying a stick to symbolize a shepherd’s crook.

The three wise men were often dressed in a bathrobe, tied at the waist, with a striped towel as a headdress, carrying gifts wrapped in shiny gold paper.

Angels were draped in white sheets with silver tinsel atop their heads to serve as halos. Wings were made from wire hangers or cardboard covered in tinfoil and trimmed with tinsel.

The children acted out the Christmas story as the scripture was read aloud. I cannot say how many times I have heard these verses read aloud, but I can tell you the story is a part of me.

This story of the birth of Christ will never leave me. It is an enduring message of love to those who believe.

No matter what your beliefs, or how you celebrate this season, I send you all wishes for a safe and blessed season. For me, it is Christmas and the story of God’s eternal love.

No matter what you personally believe, the message for me has always been clear – to love as I have been loved.

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The Last Photo – November 2021

Bushboy has again invited us to share the last photo on our camera or our phone for the month of November. No explanations necessary. Here are the rules:

The rules are simple:
1. Post the last photo on your SD card or last photo on your phone for the 31st of November.
2. No editing – who cares if it is out of focus, not framed as you would like or the subject matter didn’t cooperate.
3. You don’t have to have any explanations, just the photo will do
4. Create a Pingback to his post or link in the comments
5. Tag “The Last Photo” or #LastOnTheCard

Here’s mine from my iPhone:

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One Liner Wednesday – Christmas Countdown

 

Conversation with my granddaughter:

Me: “Are you anxious for Christmas?”

Her: (Pause) “No.”

Me: “What? You aren’t anxious for Christmas?”

Her: (Pause) “Wait! What does anxious mean?”

❤️❤️❤️

🎅🏼🎅🏼🎅🏼

 

One Liner Wednesday is brought to us each week by Linda Hill. Check out Linda’s blog to see what others have to say with just one line.

 

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Christmas in Trying Times

This morning as I read U.S. headlines, the phrases and words were daunting: reign of destruction, unchained,  unhinged, unpredictable, fear, sociopath, and crisis. Wow. That’s a lot of fear and dread going into the most sacred of Christian holidays. These words were all to describe the political environment and do not even touch on the reality of this pandemic fog we live in.

Jesus was not born into pristine and welcoming times. War and revolt were commonplace. Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem to be accounted for in the census required by Caesar Augustus. After the birth of Jesus, they became refugees and fled to avoid the “Slaughter of the Innocents” by Herod the Great.

If you do not believe Biblical accounts of the events, historic accounts of those times depict horrific events. Not easy times, but in some strange way it left me with a sense of peace. It left me remembering we have survived trying times over and over throughout history. Living our best lives and being kind in a not-so-kind world is a powerful way to celebrate the birth of Christ.

I think back to the last Christmas I spent with my father in the Valley. On Christmas Eve, everyone came to evening church services where they received one white candle. There was no preaching, only singing of hymns. Afterward, everyone walked to the altar in silence, lit their candle, and then exited the church in silence. Many walked home carrying their candle, shining light into this small, perhaps insignificant to some, corner of the world. This night reminds me I do not need to gather en masse to pay reverence on Christmas. One single candle is sometimes enough.

Enjoy this season. Smile at the festivity. Find peace in your own belief system. Be kind to others. Celebrate safely. Exercise self-care and protect the vulnerable in your circle. Decreasing your dosage of apocalyptic journalism might make your holiday a little brighter.

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Holiday Memories and Traditions

Jingle bells
Is it just me, but do the holidays take on a different feel at different points in your life, or maybe at different places you have lived? My family celebrates Christmas and I am sure my thoughts about what Christmas ‘should be like’ were solidified in my childhood. I have written a lot about my Christmas memories on this blog.

I’m not sure why, but I more relate Christmas to my father than any of the other adults in my life. Maybe because he was alive and in my life longer than others or maybe it is because his outlook on Christmas was always very childlike and I found that appealing.

This morning I was listening to ‘records’ on YouTube trying to find the version of “A Christmas Carol” my parents had on a record. I have purchased a couple of old records trying to find it, but none of them sound ‘exactly’ right. I can still remember that first line so well “Marley was dead”. Well, I thought I remembered it, but now I question myself. I have listened to Basil Rathbone, Orson Wells, Sir Ralph Richardson, Lionel Barrymore, and Sir Lawrence Olivier – which ‘may’ be the recording I remember. I have written here about that record before and it is a memory that will always come up for me.

If you click on the post above you will also see a photo of the silver Christmas tree that my father loved. It is a good memory for me, but I never loved the tree. It’s funny when you think about how traditions are born and what we decide to take with us into our adulthood and what we choose to leave behind.

For example, my Dad loved opening presents on Christmas Eve. I hated that. I like easing into Christmas morning and the anticipation leading up to the day. I did not like waking up Christmas morning and all the hustle and bustle was already over. I left that tradition behind, like I did the silver tree.

We also put an array of colored lights on our tree, the same as we did when we were both kids. No ‘all white lights’ for us. (My dad was very fond of outdoor decorations that were all blue lights, but he never used them himself).

It’s funny. In my head, due to the pandemic, I keep thinking how different it will be to be just the two of us on Christmas day. But when I look back through my blog, most of our Christmas days since we retired, we have celebrated just the two of us. Our children have so many families to split their time between, we always just celebrate with them when we can. When we lived in Florida, my daughter and her wife would always be with us on Christmas Day and we always spent Christmas Eve with them. I miss that and now even more so because they have a little girl. Somehow we thought it would be different when we retired closer to family.

So, while this year will be different, many things remain the same. We will keep the reason for the celebration uppermost in our thoughts and hope that next year we will be able to spend a little more time with our family.

(My vertigo is better, bur I am taking it easy as I get back to doing more. This is the post I wrote about abandoning in my draft folder, so I decided to use it today.)