Winter is best served with Christmas

It’s time for Christmas, to just warm up by the firelight, with a cup of hot cocoa or glass of red wine. But not until all the shopping, and wrapping, and cleaning and decorating is finished for the day. I look around my living room and see ornament boxes, wrapping paper, half-finished decoration trails and a mix of slippers on the floor, blankets on the couch, and newspaper advertisements stacked on the table just waiting for the coupons to be clipped. It’s kind of scary to think I need to finish up all this shopping for personalized gifts, get them all wrapped, clean up all the paper messes, bake cookies and pies, and have it all ready in a week before family comes over to eat, drink and be merry. Then we will all unwrap gifts, and when everyone leaves, I will be left to clean up afterwards.

But when I look at the beautiful Christmas tree standing in the corner, with twinkly little lights, and smell the cookies baking, and slip into my cozy slippers, all the heaviness of the chaos seems to dissipate and the spirit of Christmas ~ the joy, the love, and the hope ~ takes on a new life of it’s own. The joy of seeing loved ones and sharing our hopes and dreams. With Christ in my heart, the worry and stress seems to vanish.

The commissioned oil painting (triptych) that I’ve been working on up until a week ago, when it suddenly hit me that I need to prepare for Christmas, is on hold. But it is coming along – slowly. I will once again work earnestly on it in the new year. It has been an interesting experience working on large canvases (30″ x 40″) – all three simultaneously. Oil painting is a slow process, because oils dry slowely.  Plus, my studio space this time of year is generally quite chilly.  I open the doors and turn the heat on when I get ready to paint, and it warms up nicely. But in the meantime, it’s chilly. Oil paints take much longer to dry when it’s cold than they would on a warm summer day with the windows open. So, this painting may take a while to take shape at this rate. But luckily, I’m patient, and the client who requested the painting is not in rush to have it finished.  I will reveal photos of the painting when it’s farther along.

For the month of December 2015, enjoy the season, no matter how you celebrate it, but remember to keep Christ in Christmas!  He is a friend and helper in times of need, and He is the Savior of the world. And the world needs that more than ever!  Rejoice! Hope springs eternal.

 

The Month Before Christmas…

Winter is in the air and the spirit of Christmas upon us, and it always seems that the season creeps up slowly then hits suddenly. I’m never quite prepared for it, and I doubt I ever will be. I like to hold on to summer as long as possible, then fall approaches with Halloween, and when Thanksgiving is here I want to enjoy the harvest and warm comfort of good food and family. I don’t even want to think about Christmas until it’s December!

Pears in Square Dish with ApplesHowever, when I went shopping for some last minute Thanksgiving decorations, when Thanksgiving was still a week away, I had a hard time finding anything left in the store, or in the several stores I went to. Not even a single marked-down item for Thanksgiving was to be found.

Everything was already set up for the Christmas shopping extravaganza. Red and Green, tinsel and lights. Please don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas — but why do they get rid of all things Thanksgiving a week before Thanksgiving!

I realize that many stores start putting out Christmas trees and decor in September so that shoppers  get in the “mood” for holiday shopping, but that’s just not my game. Sure, when Christmas is here, I’ll wish I had started shopping for gifts in June, rather than wait until December, but I will probably never do that. I never have, so chances are slim I’ll start now.

Christmas, in my mind, is a time to celebrate our lives together in Christ. Born in a manger, with cows and sheep all around, Son of God ~ a Gift to us all ~ given to teach us what Truth and Love are so we can live in Peace and Love one another with Joyful hearts.

But what says Christmas, like Black Friday!  This year, Black Friday started early ~ a week before the day we Give Thanks for all we have. This is the biggest farce of all!

Does it make sense to you? … Not to me!  I stick with my old-fashioned belief that there is a time for every season under heaven. The marketing world wants us to move too fast, to jump ahead, making it impossible to take time for the present moments and enjoy the ambiance of each occasion. Let’s not be sucked into the money-grabbing capitalistic machine where the bottom line for the holidays is increased sales!

  •  I will have a Christmas tree.
  •  I will send Christmas cards.
  •  I will wrap presents and prepare gifts for my husband, daughters, sons, grandchildren and other family and friends.
  •  I will send packages to those I love, too far away to be with.
  •  But I will not make buying gifts the most important aspect of the season!

It’s a time to be joyful and remember the good in our lives and the love we have for each other! The gifts are merely a token of that love. It’s not about getting or giving the biggest, best, most expensive thing you can afford or add to your credit line ~ and its not about fulfilling everyones wishes and dreams. It’s about sharing something special with your loved ones ~ the hugs and kisses, the smiles, the laughter, the songs. Creating happy memories ~ the smells and tastes, the twinkling lights and candles, and sharing the traditional foods and treats.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

 If you are in Salem, Oregon ~

  • Be sure and join the Artists in Action on Wednesday, December 3rd for an Art Walk and reception for the Something Red show in downtown Salem. See the AiA website, www.artistsinaction.org for more information about this fun art event.
  • The Holiday open house at the Enid Joy Mount Gallery, for the Keizer Art Association is on Saturday, December 6th from 11 am – 4 pm, with the Small Works show and holiday gift boutique.
  • The tree lighting ceremony at Willamette University is in the evening on Saturday, December 6th. There is a free Christmas concert and sing along in the Smith Auditorium after the tree lighting on the WU campus.