Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

This week Ruth invites us to write about rituals. As I sit at my computer on Boxing Day, I realize that rituals change. And change they must. In fact, I’ve had to understand that a ritual for me may or may not be one for my family. Accepting the change is my mantra for this holiday season.

Speaking of the lack of church-going in my pandemic life, I said to my daughter, “I’ll be spiritual again in 2021.”

She responded, “Oh, you are still spiritual. It’s just the ritual that you’ve taken a break from.”

She’s right, of course. But I feel the ritual of church, especially singing carols with the choir on Christmas Eve, fed my spiritual life, and without that food, I’m going through the motions of Christmas. My advent candles sit on my kitchen table having never been lit. I wonder at the long term effects of this ritual loss.

I totally forgot about Christmas dinner. Who forgets Christmas dinner? I realized after a text from my sister-in-law that we would have a visit, masked and on the porch with open doors, but no meal. Yikes! We ran to a nearby place that has frozen foods and stocked up 10 minutes before they closed on Christmas Eve. Emergency averted. That meal was the easiest Christmas dinner ever. Maybe a new tradition was born?

As I reflect on Christmas, 2020, I have so many things to be grateful for, beginning with a negative Covid test, so I was comfortable being around my grandchildren. The joys of children at any time of the year, but especially at Christmas, cannot be overrated. Leo, 2 years, was amazed by every “pwesent”, and Thomas, 15 months, wanted to taste every goodie. “Pease!” with the sign for More caved me every time. And even though I cannot physically hold baby Stella, I can watch her from across the room melt onto my daughter’s shoulder. So many blessings. New rituals. Always hope!

Cousins Leo, 2 years, Stella, 3 weeks, and Thomas, 15 months

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#haikuforhope: Christmas Day

Today Earth rises
to laughter, carols, dancing
Christmas Day is here!

(c) Margaret Simon

According to The Writer’s Almanac for December 25, 2018, “On this day in 1968, the crew of the Apollo 8 spacecraft returned to a course for Earth after orbiting the moon 10 times over 20 hours. They were the first humans to ever leave our planet’s orbit, and the first to ever see the Earth as an entire planet. On Christmas Eve, the crew had taken the iconic “Earth rise” picture and read the first 10 verses from the book of Genesis over a live television broadcast.”

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Once we know the manger we recognize everyone as someone to love. Margaret Simon #haikuforhealing

Once we know the manger
we recognize everyone
as someone to love.
Margaret Simon

Today’s haiku is inspired by Bishop Jake Owensby’s post, Imagining Jesus, in which he writes: “The challenge for us, now that we have been to the manger, is to live the truth we’ve found there. Everyone we meet is the person God loves. In all their breathtaking otherness and bewildering uniqueness.”

My wish for you and for this nation on this Christmas Day is to remember every day that everyone you meet is a child of God who deserves respect and dignity and love. Last night as I sang in the loft above the crowded sanctuary, I prayed that my voice would be blessed. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be always with you, my Lord and My God.” Place the gift of Christmas in your heart. Find love. Express love. Be love. Every day. To every one.

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Haiku #13

There, in twinkling lights
a Teddy Bear, nutcracker,
an angel watches.

The ornaments on the Christmas tree take me on a journey of memories.  I am borrowing this idea from Linda Baie who wrote about her ornaments memories here.

I don’t know why, but I hesitate to unpack the ornaments each year.  I don’t like doing it alone.  So my daughter Maggie came over to help me, even though she now has a home of her own.  I appreciated her help, but mostly I appreciated the impetus to get it done.  In her words, “Let’s do this thing!”  I turned on the Christmas CDs, and we dug in.

“Should we hang this one?” I asked.  “The year you hated Santa Claus.  Look at that face!”

Christmas '88: Maggie 3.5 years, Katherine 8 months.

Christmas ’88: Maggie 3.5 years, Katherine 8 months.

My husband, Jeff, has a special ornament we hang each year.  His second grade teacher made it for him, sequins on a styrofoam ball, spelling out his name.



I never seem to remember where I packed my favorite ornament, the one my mother gave me from the National Cathedral when I only had two daughters.  This is one of those breakable, precious ornaments that I wrap well and put away in its own box.  But which bin did I put it in?  After Maggie left and I was preparing to put the bins back into the closet, I gave it one more try, patiently opening and closing boxes, wrapping and unwrapping tissue paper.  Then I found it.  I hung it high on the tree, safe from little hands that we don’t really have around, and mischievous paws which are circling the tree as if it’s a new toy.



A more recent ornament was made by a local artist illustrating our church, The Church of the Epiphany.  This ornament reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas.  I look forward to singing in the loft (which once held slaves before the Civil War) on Christmas Eve.


What ornaments do you treasure year to year?  Happy Holidays!


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Haiku-a-day #8

When you live near a bayou, sometimes your visitors are green.

Created with Word Swag

Created with Word Swag

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Poetry Friday round-up with Irene Latham at Live your Poem.

Poetry Friday round-up with Irene Latham at Live your Poem.

St. Nick visit

Merry Christmas Poetry Friday! My celebration began last night at our Christmas Eve service. St. Nick visits each year and tells a story to the children. He also leaves candy in their shoes that they left at the church door. Since it was 80 degrees yesterday, their little bare feet did not get cold.

On Christmas Eve Eve, our choir with some children tag alongs went caroling at two local assisted living facilities. We brought Santa along. I love this picture of Baby Jacques cuddling up to Santa.

Jacques with Santa

Tabatha Yeatts gathers names and addresses to spark a poetry exchange. I received a lovely package from Linda Baie in cold Colorado. She sent a poet’s set from our own Robyn Hood Black’s Etsy shop.

Poetry gift exchange

Linda crafted a black-out poem especially for me and mounted it on a Christmas collage. It’s lovely.

Christmas poem from Linda

passage home
round the lamp
beam each one in his own way,
making others idle
giving coats
strong enough
for bad weather.
lined on the inside with flannel,
every one did something
for the season

Friday, December 25th.
This day was Christmas;
all day long, and
a holiday dinner
Old Style celebrated
drank, ate

finished all
another answered
very well
magnificent light
carrying us
fine day

–Linda Baie

Winter Poem Swap 2015 smaller copy

May you and yours enjoy this day and always the blessings of Christmas Joy.

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Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Starlings in Winter by Mary Oliver; Chunky and noisy, but with stars in their black feathers, they spring from the telephone wire and instantly they

Source: Starlings in Winter, poem – Mary Oliver poems | Best Poems

I want to be light and frolicsome.I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing,as though I had wings. copy

We received some rough news this week. A diagnosis. A good friend. A young mother.

How do we handle this cancer nightsoil in the midst of Christmas carols and wrapping and baking. Where is the joy? I am struggling to find it.

I found it on Facebook, of all places, where her neighbor set up a Caring Bridges site. There’s a picture of over 50 people gathered in prayer. I texted, “I am overwhelmed by what you are doing.”

“It’s hard to accept the love that comes with such a crappy thing.”

So I will find joy in the love. Love of my family, my friends far and near, and of God’s word made flesh.

Watch the light of the full moon tonight, this Christmas Eve, hold your loved ones tight. Because this moment is all we have. Merry Christmas!

candle light

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Slice of Christmas

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Jesse Tree in our church

Jesse Tree in our church

As I sit down finally to write my slice, I look outside. It’s dark, already! Today (Monday) is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. It feels like I snapped my fingers and the day was done. My list is long, and even though school is out, I don’t feel like there is enough time. This happens every Christmas. When will I learn to start early?

Pumpkin bread is filling my kitchen with the scent of something good. The Hallmark channel is on, and I am watching yet another holiday movie, a guilty pleasure. After two trips to the shipping place (they know me by name), I put the final packages in the mail. I finished the Christmas cards. And I replaced the burned-out string of lights on the stairway.

I am not telling you about losing my car in the Walmart parking lot… in the rain. I am not telling you about the failed gift to my students…plastic candy canes full of M&Ms = M&Ms on the floor. I am not telling you about burning my finger on the curling iron. Nope, not going to tell you about it.

I’m not telling you these things because they are minor and mean nothing. When the days shorten, and we are left alone looking out at the dark night, may we see the shooting star, make a wish, and let it go. Let it go! And Merry Christmas, everyone!

Our 2015 Christmas card: a sister selfie.

Our 2015 Christmas card: a sister selfie.

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Oh Christmas Tree

Poetry Friday round-up with Tara at A Teaching Life

Poetry Friday round-up with Tara at A Teaching Life


The multiple pictures of Christmas trees started showing up on Facebook before Thanksgiving.  The more pictures posted, the more anxious I became.  When we moved into this house eleven years ago, I didn’t get a tree until Dec. 18th, and Christmas came anyway.  So what made me think on Dec. 1st that I was running behind?  Should I let Facebook run my life?  Get a grip.

My tree is here.  We ventured out last Saturday afternoon to find the just-right one.  It’s up.  There are lights on it.  That’s all.

I know I will enjoy putting the ornaments on.  I will travel through the years and think of all the kids I have taught.  I love the ones that mark “Baby’s First Christmas” and other milestones. Many memories in the box.  But I can’t make myself do it yet.  What am I waiting for? (A chunk of time that seems to get more and more elusive with each new December day.)


Christmas tree 15

Tall evergreen in my living room,

long branches reach out,

my fingers touch your soft fur.

I’ll adorn you soon.

But today I watch

your twinkle lights


–Margaret Simon


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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Last Saturday, New Iberia commemorated artist George Rodrigue with a day of festivities and a Christmas parade. George Rodrigue (1944-2013) is a well-known Louisiana artist who created the iconic “Blue Dog.” He grew up in New Iberia. The whole downtown is colored blue with blue lights and blue decorated windows. My Berry Queen sister, Cathy, made us matching blue dog poodle skirts to wear in the parade. We all word blue wigs. The streets were lined with festive parade-goers.

Blue Dog Berry Queens

Blue Dog Berry Queens

The Shadows always looks beautiful. Our final day of performance was Monday. My student Erin, dressed as Harriet Weeks, looks out dreamily to the gardens below.

Harriet surveys the Shadows

Harriet surveys the Shadows

I caught a nasty cold and spent Thursday afternoon on my soft sofa with Charlie at my side. Even though it took illness to get me there, I was grateful for the quiet time to watch the twinkling Christmas tree.

My view

My view

Jack, the lemur, became part of our origami Christmas popper making. Vannisa set up a “photo shoot” with him among the wrapping paper. Together we wrote a Christmas poem for you. Merry Christmas everyone! Celebrate!

Jack the lemur wishes you a very merry Christmas!

Jack the lemur wishes you a very merry Christmas!

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