As Christmas approaches, the old becomes ever so new again


If there’s one tradition I’ve come to embrace over the years, it’s building gradually, steadily and prayerfully toward Christmas.

On the feast of Christ the King, we started off by getting the house in shape so the Advent layering could begin. This year, as noted in an earlier post, we hung new lace curtains in the porch as a setting for the greens and lights to come. On First Advent, we lit one candle on the wreath and savored the glow.

On the Second Sunday of Advent, we set up Christmas trees in every room and strung lights on them to signal to neighbors that we await the Incarnation. Now, in this glorious third Week of Advent, we’re in the process of putting up the rest of the decorations on the trees.

We trimmed the little tree in my bedroom with  holy cards collected over the years. The big tree in the living room is almost finished. It’s decked with ornaments that hark from childhood years and beyond.This weekend, we’ll guild that old artifical lily (purchased some years back at a yard sale for $10) with our most precious ornaments — a set of seven symbols of Christmas in brass from our friends, the Mullen family; a handfull of glorious blown glass ornaments by New Jersey artisans collected over the years; fanciful treasures including unicorns, blown glass fish and hummingbirds from Sister-in-law Kate, and some Irish, Italian and Eastern European treasures reflecting our melting pot heritage.

By this weekend, the tree will never have looked lovelier and the annual notion that comes over me to replace it with a newer, fancier model,  will have disappeared amid the gathering glow that leads us all toward Christmas.

During the Third Week of Advent, the scores of Christmas cards that have tumbled into the mail box over the years bringing so much joy with them are set out in a big brown basket for everyone to leaf through again.  Reading them brings back so many wonderful memories of Christmas past. 

This is also the week that the manger Dad made in his old woodshop goes up on the fireplace mantle. This year, we’ve surrounded it with Nativity cards from family and good friends.

Surveying the scene, on a daily basis, I look forward to next week, when all of the small Christmas pillows mom fashioned are put in their prominent  locations once again and the porch is strung with even more lights to manifest coming of our Savior and the real meaning of the season.

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