Hello friends! I hope that your Thanksgiving was full of reasons to hug another neck, accept another heaping helping and give thanks for another handful of blessings. Ours certainly was. It was warm and filling in so very VERY many ways! And we do, we really do, have so many reasons to offer our thanks.
And now we are home and a new season has officially begun.
I carried my great grandmother's handbag to church on our first Advent Sunday morning. Inside it was a handful of peppermints, and her rosary wrapped in a lacy handkerchief. We aren't catholic, but it felt right. These are the things that she carried with her on Sundays and everyday. It wasn't as good as holding her hand, but it was good. I don't use it very often. The handle doesn't have too many trips left in it. But the familiar snap of the clasp surprises me every single time, like a little jolt of past comforts.
She would have been reaching for her offering when I heard that clasp snap, or perhaps it was to quiet me with one of those peppermints, or for her handkerchief, which she would use to dab at her eyes when the choir sang just the right song or after service when she'd talk to her friends and laugh so hard that the tears came.
I miss her. This time of year more than any other, accept maybe when it's canning time.
When we came home from church this Sunday, we all huddled up and made a plan. We scrubbed from top to bottom… ceiling fans, windows (okay SOME windows), light fixtures, floors and closets. We fixed what was broken and polished what was tarnished, and we did it all to the sounds of Ella and Louie singing in the season like no one else can. We're making ready for a time of celebration.
After the spit shine, we put out what are traditionally our very first Christmas decorations – my great grandmother's poinsettia tablecloth, our advent wreath and the candoliers in the windows, which tell all who pass that we welcome friends and that we await the coming of our king.
We had a fancy dinner, complete with place cards and crystal and the holly berry plates. Then our youngest little man lit the candle of hope while Daddy prayed for each of us, that we may receive the hope of the world this season.
I feel so full of hope. I hope for a season rich in tradition and comfort. I hope that we will make memories that will fill them long after I am gone, just the way my great grandmother did for me. I hope that we will navigate our way safely past the stress and worry and the wants that threaten to make us lose sight of what is perfect and good about the celebrations ahead of us. I hope that I can pass on some of the love and the joy that was so richly poured out on me.
And I hope for you too… that the days ahead will be full of sweetness and family, warmth and blessing, a wonder-filled Advent season to you all!