This Christmas season I have felt like a Grinch. I have not been sure as to why until I read Brenda's post this morning. She nailed it. I miss the simplicity of life that seems to be slipping through our fingertips more and more every moment.
As I read Brenda's post this morning, I remembered my own childhood and the loveliness of downtown Winston-Salem at Christmas. Winston-Salem has a deep, rich Moravin heritage. While I am Quaker (Greensboro is the home of one of the first Quaker communities and college), the Moravin traditions were very much a part of my Christmas celebrations. We always went to Old Salem for the Christmas lovefeast -- the sharing of bread and coffee along with the celebration of song and scripture remembering our Savior's birth. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the beeswax candles, wringed with red crepe paper to catch the wax, that we all held high at the end of the service, remembering the one great light of the world.
Today, I am far from any meeting and so, as Emily Dickinson, I keep my Sabbath at home. But I miss the service and I miss the simplicity of silent meeting. But even more, I miss the simplicity of knowing what I believe. The world is complex. We have so many things tugging at us, pulling us to give it immediate attention. We are compelled to be 'politically correct' instead of being true to ourselves. We are careful to not offend others by compromising even our greeting at this holiday season. "Happy holidays" does NOT trump "Merry Christmas."
Thursday, as Mother, Eleanor and I were making a last shopping trip to Winston-Salem, we walked past a very pleasant young man ringing his bell and joyously singing Christmas songs. I stopped and listened to him; Mother joined his singing. While it was just a moment in the day, it was probably one of the best. For just a moment we all remembered what the season was all about. It was magic.
So, this Christmas I want to celebrate peace, within and without. Less rushing, less shopping, less stuff. And, I plan to say, "Merry Christmas" every chance I get.