Thursday, December 24, 2020

O Christmas Trees

Here are the trees I painted using the cuts leftover from building our gazebo two years ago, specifically the plywood from making the octagonal roof. 
My little painted trees in amongst my favourite real trees, including the birch tree that has guided my Tree Pose during morning yoga for 14 years. 

So we have arrived at Christmas Eve and it's a beautiful day here in north-western Nova Scotia, bright and cold. Sunshine before rain and wind tomorrow. We have a windchill of minus 13 this morning -- but a high forecasted for 6 degrees! 

I was up early this morning because I hadn't yet written my message for tonight's service and I don't like waiting until the last minute! You never know what can happen so it's always best to have it done. So in the quiet and dark of early morning (after feeding the pets, of course, so they wouldn't harass me), I sat down at my desk with my mug of chai tea and wrote a short message for the Christmas Eve audience. Here's an excerpt: 

~ We heard these words in our opening song, O Holy Night:
“A thrill of hope – a weary world rejoices.”

We are weary, aren’t we? 
Weary of letting go, of giving up, of not knowing. 
Weary of the chaos and confusion, of the uncertainty and anxiety, of the protests and problems, the hatred and the violence. 

So much unravelled this year, in our own lives and in the world. 
Much of it we couldn’t control, and it felt like it was happening all at once. 
It was exhausting, and it’s still exhausting. 

 It feels like the end of the world as we know it.

And here’s the good news: That’s IS the good news. That IS why we are rejoicing this Christmas. 

Because that’s what Christmas is really about. The end of the world as we know it. 
The end of one way of living, and the beginning of a new way. 
The way of love.

Love is an all-encompassing word that stands for a whole lot of more specific words – and actions: 
Kindness. Mercy. Peace. Justice.
Fairness. Compassion. Equality. 
Acceptance. Tolerance.

The WAY of love is also specific: An end to oppression and persecution, an end to poverty and the rich-getting-richer, end of tyranny and war-making, and the end of hoarding abundance. 

This year has opened our eyes – and our hearts – to those who have less, those who are quiet and humble, those who are grieving, those who hunger and thirst for honesty and decency, those who work for peace and justice.

Those who are weary. 

And we, too, are the weary ones. We are shaken out of our complacency, we are seeing with new eyes, we are ready to follow that star – and believe.  ~ 

Even though many of us are in lockdown, or preparing for it, are separated from family and friends, are "stuck" at home with all the same faces since March, there are so many blessings to count. It is better to be grateful than regretful. 
I love the lights at this time of year. My favourite part of the Christmas season is early morning yoga by the glow of the Christmas tree lights. 
And listening to the soundtrack of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" every day since December 1! 

May your favourite rituals of the season bring you comfort. 
May the lights of the season remind you that the real meaning of Christmas shines clearly no matter what is going on in the world. 
May you remember that Christmas is only one day -- but its spirit carries us through every single day.

From my home to yours, have yourself a lovely little Christmas -- be safe, be well, be ready!
Sara xo 

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