My Christmas books have slowly appeared on the coffee tables and sit on the occasional chair. There is even a children’s section on a low bookcase in the hall. I’m hoping a youngster, or two, finds them to read. I adore children’s literature. Over the years, I have acquired a nice sampling of books of the season; both through my own purchase and as treasured gifts from family and friends.
A few gifts have been purchased, but, I am running behind. I have started gathering ingredients needed to begin my holiday baking. For me, it IS holiday baking. Not everyone I share the gifts of my kitchen with celebrate Christmas. What we do all celebrate is a collective godliness and goodwill during our holy days, and I find great joy in the gift of giving food whenever I can.
A theme of this season and one that has been visiting me often lately. “A Woman’s Christmas; Returning to the Gentle Joys of the Season” was the first of my Christmas literary treasures to find its way back into my hands. It was in this little volume where I found the quote in my previous post. This is a lovely little keepsake book, full of joyful quotes, photos, a few recipes and short essays. It found me last year in one of my favorite antique haunts, Jackson Square Mall. I gravitate to books Victoria Magazine published, especially those of the late 1990’s. There is a gentleness of spirit and sensibility to them that calls to the old fashioned girl in me.
It showed up again in Sunday’s sermon. Our pastor is a gifted speaker and his message sang out to me as he spoke of the difference between happiness and joy. He seemed to expand on the words in the aforementioned quote – a coincidence I soaked thirstily up. His words and those of scripture spoke to me, making a “joyful noise” inside my soul.
Later, as I pushed my shopping cart through T. J. Maxx, looking for the perfect gifts while gravitating to decorations I did not need, I thought of my happiness at learning that our family will all be together on Christmas this year, then, the pure joy of anticipating a full house overcame me.
My Tasha Tudor Christmas books will eventually make an appearance, especially her book, “Take Joy”. I have written of it before, here on the Cutoff, and will try to share it again sometime soon. In-the-meantime, dear reader, I wish you joy.
” . . . No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance. Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy! Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty . . . that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it, that is all! . . . And so I greet you, with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”
“Letter to a Friend” by Fra Giovanni, 1513