For those of you who want a collection of creche pictures and some candle pictures, head on over to this post on my theology blog. Over here, I'll post some pictures that say quintessential Christmas to me, along with some ponderings.
I can't resist posting this picture again (I first wrote about it here), with an update about an unusual visitor to the manger.
On our church property, we have several burrows of owls that are an endangered species. Yesterday morning, one of them tried to upstage Jesus and move in towards the manger. By the time we arrived for the evening services, the baby owl had moved on. But I found myself enchanted once again, by this baby Jesus lying amidst the mushrooms and the lily in the background that you can't see, this baby Jesus who is compelling not only to shepherds and magi, but to endangered owls.
My sister and I spent our childhood making Christmas ornaments; my parents saved one for each of us. Above you see the earliest ornament I made while in pre-school. I assume someone else put on the glitter long ago. It's survived while all the sparkly bits that I added did not.
Below you'll see my nephew, at the time he was about the age I was when I made the above ornament. To me, the picture below says Christmas morning, or at least, one kind of Christmas morning!
Happily, he is a child who can appreciate old-fashioned toys too. Below, the puppet theatre he got last year.
Some decorations that may make you happy.
Above, my mother's collection of Scandinavian figures. Below, some nutcrackers.
The picture below, with the snowmen in a canoe, reminds me of a time when we visited, all of us together, three generations. My mom got a carrot out of the fridge, and I can't remember what she was doing with it in her cooking prep. My pre-school age nephew pointed and said, "That's a snowman nose!"
I watched my nephew's face, with its mixture of horror and dawning realization of some level of symbolism that he hadn't grasped before. I felt like I saw a smidge of childhood innocence disappearing.
But then again, I tend to read too much into simple things.
What would a Christmas morning photo essay be without some decorated trees? Above, my sister's tree last year. Can you find the sock monkey ornament? (hint: look for a red hat).
Do you have Christmon trees like the one above in your church? Below you might be able to see some Christmons made in counted cross stitch that my step-mom-in-law made for us. They're nestled in with plastic canvas ornaments my grandmother made. I treasure them all.
Here's the larger shot of my tree this year. It's artificial, and while I'd love a real tree, they're very expensive down here. The tree above that cost my sister $40 would cost me hundreds of dollars down here.
And to sum up, here's a picture that represents what I wish for each of us:
My gingerbread people cooked into each other, and my spouse who was taking them off the baking sheets couldn't bear to rip these two apart. May we all have sweetness in our lives. May we not be ripped apart from the lives merged into ours. May our sharp edges melt. May our plates be both festive and nourishing food.
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