Crazy Calm

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There are so many emotions tugging at my heart this time of year. Of course there is stress: Visions of all that needs to be done dancing around in my head and the hustle and bustle of plain old everyday living. But for some reason there is a crazy calm surrounding me this year. I seem to be looking at things a bit differently. For instance, while putting up my Christmas tree with my granddaughter Emma, I realized that at least ninety percent of my ornaments are homemade/handmade.

In this picture of my tree you can?t really see the red birds that my mama sewed with her fingers oh so many years ago, or the cross-stitched ornament that says, ?Merry Christmas? that she made, but they?re there.

I have red and white felt birds made by my dear neighbor, Thelma. Also crocheted stars and snowflakes crafted by my old Sunday school teacher Mary Lou. Close to thirty years ago she took out her hooked needle and made everyone in her class the handmade ornaments. Why do they shine so brightly for me this year? Maybe because I received news this weekend that Mary Lou is a very sick lady.

As I gaze into the branches of my skinny little fake tree I see a construction paper bell with my daughter Wendy?s picture pasted on it when she was maybe five years old. I also have a handmade Christmas ball made by my long gone Aunt Dorothy. This ball has a picture of Wendy at one-year-old pasted on it.

There is a canning lid ornament with a little bell, tin punched out in it with a red bow tied to the top that Wendy made many, many, years ago. Then I look at the hand painted snowman and Christmas stocking that Emma painted this year and the pinecones that Emma and I picked up last year and fashioned into ornaments by simply tying a ribbon to the top.

As I look around my living room I see a ceramic old Kris Kringle on my hearth. A long ago gift from a co-worker named Renee. A log cabin ornament given to me by my editor, Jo to commemorate the publishing of our first work together, ?Guardian Spirit.? A tin punched angel made by Wendy, and Mary and Joseph painted onto miniature gourds by a special and talented friend of mine called Pam.

Memories of long ago float through my head as I gaze into the lighted tree. Like, hunting the woods for a perfect tree for our home. I have very few good remembrances of Christmas while growing up but searching for our Christmas tree is a memory I want to remember. Sometimes my sister and I would go together and look for the tree and somewhere way back in my memory is the year daddy went with us. For lots of reasons I can?t have a real tree any more. One being I hate to cut down trees. But sometimes I long for the smell of a fresh cut tree. I miss the scent of cedar and the joy of the hunt.

Time changes everything. Real things are substituted by artificial. People we love are here one moment and gone the next. All around us are reminders of the past? the old timey. It may be something that was given to us by a loved one. Or it might just be a smell or sound that reminds us of way back when.

Yes, this year I am driven by a crazy calm. I see the many blessings that I have all around me. As I fill out Christmas cards I am reminded of all the friends I have. This morning when I prayed for a sick child I also thanked God for my healthy family. While watching a couple-hundred people being fed a good hot meal at my church last night, I was thankful to be a part of such a caring church family. Then while watching our Christmas play, ?The Best Christmas Pageant Ever? I felt all warm inside, like it was really an old fashioned Christmas and not WalMart?s favorite time of the year.

As the minutes click nearer to Christmas Day, let us all open our eyes to the true wonders of Christmas. May our hearts cry for the cold and hungry, and our hands work to help the true needy. Take time to make memories with your family. Hunt the woods for holly and silver pine to decorate your mantle. Grab the shotgun and shoot down some mistletoe to hang overhead. Then find yourself a cozy spot, take out your Bible and read about the true meaning of Christmas, baby Jesus. I hope you find your crazy calm this year.

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