…I’d like to share some of our pictures from the season! (And knowing me, probably some random meditative thoughts as well…)
I had wanted to find a tabletop-sized tree for our home this Christmas, but it didn’t end up happening. However, the city generously provided us with a Christmas tree by putting one up in the center of downtown – conveniently located about two blocks away from our house 😉
It is, I suppose, the urban child’s equivalent of a tree out in the woods, uncut, decorated with a single candle perhaps, and ribbons, and cookies and popcorn for the birds – the sort of tree described in Temple Bailey’s exquisite Christmas story The Candle in the Forest. It is what we have, beautiful and special, and we make it meaningful by sharing our delight in it together.
(If you haven’t read The Candle in the Forest, you should remedy that as soon as you can. It is one of my favorite Christmas stories of all times, for how well it captures the beauty of simple traditions and family love and doing the best with what one has; I have never read it without tears.)
Even Limerick was sufficiently entranced by the lights and ornaments to cease his endless running (usually into the road) and examine the tree! And Rondel couldn’t get enough of it – he asked to see the tree everyday for at least two weeks after the city put it up.
The specialness, the difference, of the Christmas season stood out to him for the first time this year – for some reason everyone was making everything more beautiful, and baking special treats more often, and lighting different candles, and secretly collecting gifts to give. We read the Christmas story to him over and over again, revealing more of the story as the day grew nearer, and he delighted with us in the coming Baby because of whom all the celebration was taking place.
Babies are very precious things in the minds of toddlers – they are just about the only people smaller than toddlers, and so I think they evoke feelings of responsibility, power, and protective love: essentially, they give the toddler a foretaste of being an adult and specifically a parent, and the toddler finds it quite an exciting experience. Not that they could bear that responsibility for long, of course, and they don’t try to – but when you’re always the small and the weak, who needs to be helped and taught and directed and cared for, it’s nice to find someone even smaller and weaker whom you can help teach and take care of. Babies bring that gift, the opportunity to serve and be a blessing to someone else, to even the smallest children – and in becoming a baby, God reminds us of the importance of that gift. For He did not come to be served, although as a human baby He was helpless and needy; rather He came to serve us, with His life, with His death, and with His intercession for us before the throne of the Father for all eternity.
(more pictures to come in a few days!)