Monday, January 3, 2011

Before and After

In my home Christmas has come and gone. Once spread throughout the house, there is now a before and an after.

Before, when Christmas glittered on a decoration laden tree and lights twinkled in every corner.

Before, where in the corner, beneath a protective glass dome, within a Creche, a mother and father embraced a baby. And where, atop the piano, a ceramic village welcomed visitors to join in the carolling. Where beside a tiny frozen pond of glass, a boy skated, hockey stick in hand, cheeks rosy red and a young girl swooned, woolen skirt swirling as she spun upon the glass.

Before, where Christmas descended in all its wonder and joy, bringing with it promises of a birth that would resonate throughout the world and a jolly old fat man who would warm the hearts of sleeping children who dreamt of stockings full of candy canes and caramels and a special gift waiting under the tree.

Before, this was Christmas throughout my house.

And now, after the rush, the bustle and the festivities, Christmas has passed and rests once again in boxes and bags. After this year is spent and before that time when we will rejoice once again in a child's birth and children will wait in wide eyed wonder and excited anticipation of the arrival of Ole' Saint Nick, Christmas will remain tucked away in attics and garages, behind closed doors and storage rooms.

And yet, amidst the everyday, the scent of Christmas will linger. The promise of an infant's birth. The shepherd's watching. The wonder of three Magi. The story of flight from danger. These will remain, amidst the before and the after as we marvel in the miracle of life that is the human being. For the story of the Christchild's birth reaches beyond church pew and prayer rug. It reaches beyond the colour of our skin, the rituals of our religion or the emblems of our flags.

This story reaches into the hearts of all mankind. For it is in the birth of a child that we are reminded, life is a gift to be treasured, to be nurtured, to be honoured and cherished. Life is a promise. Life is sacred.

And as each day passes, before this year flows into the next and after time has had its way, giving us once again that time when we will bring down Christmas to uncover hidden treasures waiting to fill our homes with memories and visions of wonder, it is life every day we must treasure. Treasure and cherish. Nurture and hold in awe. Life to live and to share in love, peace and joy.

For it is in remembering the love, peace and joy of a child's birth that each day unfolds in beauty throughout the year, despite Christmas being put away.

For in between the before and the after, there is family, and friends and hearts connecting and shared experiences and laughter and joy.

There is this time when we choose harmony over discord, knowing that whatever went before is nothing compared to what will come after we choose the path to peace -- peace that will reign in the hearts and minds of all humankind.
For we must always remember, no matter what happens in this world, there is always Love. Love that sustains. That lifts us up and carries us forward throughout the year.

Between the before and the after, no matter what went or is gone. No matter what awaits in its passing. There is always, Love.

Love that has the power to renew. To heal. To soothe.

Love that grows and carries us through each day.

Love that encircles us, connecting our hearts no matter how far from home we roam, or what we encounter upon our path. Love.

It didn't get packed away with the bows and boughs.

It lingers.

Every where.

Filling our hearts with joy throughout the year. Creating peace on earth for all humankind.


I wrote this piece because yesterday we packed up Christmas -- and I always find that a poignant and restorative activity.

And then, I found myself over at Seedlings in Stone (a place I love to visit) and happened upon L.L. Barkat's invitation to participate in, On, In, and Around, Mondays.

and so, this piece became part of my On, In, and Around, Mondays.

to read about wonder and life unfolding in love and joy, click on over to Seedlings in Stone. You'll be happy you did!


Hope said...

what a beautiful write, Louise!
I sense the sentimentality of putting away all the baubles and glitter of the celebration. that's the fun part of Christmas. That's what celebration is all about, whether it be for birthdays, new years, valentines etc. but they all have the same message and that is exactly what your piece is all about.


let's keep it going all year!

Maureen said...

To hold thoughts like these throughout the year is the gift.

Claudia said...

i'm glad our christmas lingers throughout the year.. i like how your living room looks by the way - very nice - the second pics with the tulips look already like spring..nice..and i like your piano - ours is much more modern and black

L.L. Barkat said...

I like the idea of the scent of Christmas lingering. Sometimes I make that happen quite literally, by putting little baggies of the swept-up needles in my kitchen cabinet. :)

kingfisher said...

How wonderful that our love (and His Love!) don't get packed away after Christmas. May the spirit of Christmas linger long in your heart.

Kathleen@so much to say, so little time said...

I always feel sad when I see the lights go off, the trees down, right after New Year. We keep everything up, and everything lit, all through Epiphany...a reminder that the season is longer than a shopping season and one crazy day.

Sandra Heska King said...

Love lingers in your words. In your heart.

Love the before and after pictures, the kitty on the sofa, the tulips.

katdish said...

I've missed your words, Louise. Thanks for reminding us what remains after all the boxes and bows have been put away.

Anonymous said...

just loved the last few paragraphs/

these are the things which festivals fill our lives with.

lots of love.

S. Etole said...

it's wonderfully held in your heart ...