pull up a chair

where wisdom gathers, poetry unfolds and divine light is sparked…

Tag: christmas wonder



arms wide-open, it’s the dawn that follows the silent night. night of awe. dawn of darkness lifting. the dawn, i pray for you, when the outlines of all your blessings come sharply, crisply, indelibly into focus.

when, perhaps, you find yourself all alone, nestled inside the flutterings of your heart and your soul, and all the Christmases of all the years before come tumbling softly, and this particular one, perhaps, leaps out from the pile because this is the Christmas when you’ve unwrapped a particular glimmering knowing from under your tree.

maybe it’s the simmering of newfound love. maybe it’s the weight finally shrugged off your shoulders. maybe, after all the hours of darkness, you’ve found your way to the flickering light off in the distance, and you’re home now, finally home.

maybe it’s that the story of Christmas — the blessed virgin mother and holy child, the newborn babe laid in the straw, the star of wonder lighting the heavens, the beasts of the pasture poking their noses into the barn, drawn by all of the stirrings — maybe the story of Christmas this year awakens a place deep inside you that’s too long been numb to the hope, and the light, that nativity brings. that nativity lays quietly at the cusp of your heart.

come, open the gift. open the possibility of wonder. of glistening light. wrap yourself, for even just this one sacred hour, in the hush and the whisper of peace. peace on earth, please. but peace in your very own kingdom — you can make that happen if you take hold of wonder, if you chase out the noise, if you close your eyes (or open them wider than ever), and open your heart. breathe deep. inhale the Divine, animator of all that’s wonder-filled, that’s breathtaking.

that’s what i pray you find this blessed morning, under your tree, tucked in your heart. may this dawn of quiet at last, this day-breaking hour of stillness, seep deep into your every channel of wonder, into the depth and breadth and whole of your soul, and fill you with Christmas at its holiest.

amen. and merry blessed Christmas.

here’s one last little wintery blessing, from the pages of slowing time….


may yours be a sumptuous, most heavenly day…..

ho-ho-holiday nods

most every friday, i carve out an hour. or maybe more than one.

it’s the hour when i pull up a chair, and sit for a moment. wait for the bubbling up to begin. it’s when i sift through the landscape of the week, see where my heart trips up. where it wants to play a frame over and over again. it’s the hour when i capture some scene of my children’s lives, as that life rolls on. it’s where i stop and pause and stare at some God-given miracle, the flight of a bird, the droop of a bloom. it’s where i wonder out loud.

and so it comes today. at the far side of the day, instead of the start. a field trip pulled me away. and the bus broke down on the long ride home. but, on fridays, i never feel settled till i’ve pulled up a chair.

so here i am, just me and my words and my bubbling-up heart.

it’s quiet here, the way i like it best of all, the way that lets me breathe. deep in, and deep out.

the clock ticks. the tea kettle is almost to whistling. the back yard, where all my flocks come, where they chitter and squawk, it’s silver-blue light out there. the sun has slipped from the afternoon sky. there’s barely the barest tinge of pink-fingered sky off to the west.

oh, there’s the kettle.

and there goes the last of the light. all i see now is black against gray. the limbs of the trees stretched like veins against sky.

my night’s work will be filled with elf sorts of tasks. i’ve holiday bread, 10 loaves, to deliver. each one tied with a cord, pulled on a sled perhaps. depends when the snow comes.

i’ve decided this year that i am making all of december a month for quietly giving. none of this mad-dash rush at the end. i’ve made the stretch from the first through till christmas a time to turn to those who’ve made a difference, to say, with a loaf, or a word, thank you for all you bring to me on the unlikeliest of days.

thank you to the neighbor who left a basket of tomatoes at my back stoop.

thank you to the one who lets my boy play in her basement for hours on end.

thank you mister bus driver, for marking each ride with a wave and a smile. for giving me reason, each blessed morning we manage to get there, for walking home with my own smile inside.

thank you to the soulful women who type beside me, tuesday through thursday. thank you for giving me reason to want to come to work.

thank you to the principal who made sure my little one was safe at heart during his days in the woods (and typed out a furtive email to let me know that he was).

thank you, deeply and truly, to each of you who come here during the days of the year when, somehow, you carve out the minutes it takes to come and see what’s out on the table. maybe you nibble, maybe you pass. but back and again, you come and you come.

nearly four years it’s been (12.12.06, the very first entry). and here we are on the brink of that marker, and too, the brink of the eve when a boy who’s grown up here will find out the news about college.

it’s a big december, as always.

bigger than most because of the latter.

how did we get here, so many are asking? how did we get to this place where our just-born children were finding out about college–where they would go, where they would dream, where they’d spread wings and fly from our nest?

it’s a good time for quiet, this brink of so much. so quiet i’ve stitched. in a card typed and cut and pasted and stamped. in bread studded with almond paste and golden raisins and cranberries too. wrapped in bakery paper, the white waxy kind.

it’s a quiet i’ve carved in tiptoeing down the stairs early and all alone. it’s a quiet i find in feeding my birds.

it’s a quiet inside that comes when you learn, at last, to whisper, this is enough. this says it all.

and so you pull a sled through the ridges of snow. you knock at a door, and hand over bread and a card and a merry, merry that says in so many ways: thank you for making my days as rich as they are.

merry merry to each and every one of you. those who still come here, and those who’ve not been in a very long while. i never forget a one of you.

may your december days be blessed through and through.

what’s on your thank you list this december?

before the pit-pat of little feets

once again, it is wrapped in black. before the black turns to purply, before the streaks of light begin to steal away the blackness of the magic of christmas that i have come to love best: before the pit-pat of little feets tromp down the steps, streak across the hall, shout, it’s christmas.

don’t get me wrong, i love that chapter. it’s just that i love this one better.

it’s just me and the darkness and the twinkling of the tree, and the clock ticking, and the simmering of “smell” on the stove. smell is my old pot that sizzles all through the winter with a great heap of orange peels, and cinnamon sticks and cloves and bay leaves and water that turns syrupy brown what with all the sizzling.

sometimes i make a fire when i know the coast is clear and poor ol’ santa won’t be singeing his bottom, or the soles of his boots.

i’m usually alone with santa’s handiwork. in fact the sight of his plate (up above) tickles me to no end. we have left food for the reindeer, a big mug of milk, and the best of the sweets we have stored in our tins. this year it looks like poor santa had time for just a bite of the shortbread star and one little square of peppermint bark. seems like the reindeer didn’t get much. this might bother poor tedd, but he’ll get on with the business of the day, which in this case looks to be the very thing he wanted, a rock-n-roll guitar. santa should have remembered ear plugs for papa. oh well.

back to the part that is my christmas gift: the shhhhhsh of the morning when it’s me and the tree….

it starts, like it has for nearly a half century of years, with that first semi-conscious awakening, as those brain cells kick into holiday drive and send out a newsflash, it’s christmas morn. and since i’m the mom now i don’t have to hold myself in under the covers, i can unfurl, i can escape, i can dart down the stairs in my jammies, and drink in the magic of the morning.

i plug in the tree, turn up the flame under the smell, haul out the makin’s of my christmas morn cake. the one that will have the windows steaming on the inside, the one that years ago i discovered made me feel like a mama on christmas. baking in the kitchen, while little heads up above still swirled with visions of sugar plums. that’s what moms do, isn’t it?

this morning is all about christmas from the other side. this is all about making christmas my way, stitching it with the great tapestry of sight and sound and smell that stokes my heart, stokes my soul. this is christmas the way i always wanted it to be. this is christmas before the cacophony unfolds. this is christmas hushed.

curled in my red-and-white checked chair, mug in hand, staring into the flames, drinking in the magic of making christmas for others, i inhale a deep gulp. i hold it in my lungs.

this is a moment i wait for all year, and i don’t want to let it slip away soon. each christmas, how it changes; i am the mother these days not just of wee little ones. in fact, just now i hear 13-year-old feets. they make the floorboards creak. they hardly pit-a-pat.

i wonder if, 13 years from now, i will still hear those feet up above. or will he be out in the world, sending me an email some christmas morn, from far on the other side of the globe? saying, dear mama, i hope it’s quiet there. hope the smell isn’t burning. hope you could manage to get down under the tree and plug in the lights. hope you don’t mind christmas alone.

guess i need to go make christmas for the boys i love best. it won’t be christmas forever. only once a year do i get that fluttery truth in my half-asleep brain: it’s christmas, get downstairs. the dark won’t last for long.

here’s my whispering for each of you: may you find whatever you are seeking this christmas, the wisp of a dream come true, a hug from someone who really loves you, the magic of unwrapping something that tells you someone was listening, really listening. if there is good possibility a tear is spilling down your cheek, may there be someone to wipe it, someone who loves you, and maybe that someone is me. all the way from here to there. i know what it is to find a little dark corner on christmas and fill it with light, and call it your own.

quietly, softly, before the volume is cranked: merry blessed christmas. i wish you were right here beside me. we would stare into the fire. we would breathe deep. we would hold on to the miracle of the day before it unfolds.

God bless you each and every one.