The season is bright my good friends! A week from tonight is Christmas Eve. There is something in me still little girlish enough to feel that this is a marvelous thing. I get heady with the wonder of it all…still. Look at us all, decking whole rooms and trees with lights, making feasts, singing from the bottom of our hearts and tops of our lungs as if we really believed that Goodness had stormed into our plain lives and we must welcome him with brightness. It’s beautiful to me.
The last two weeks have been crazy; I’ve spent most of them in a stint as a one woman shipping company, but I’ve also traveled, Christmas partied, and cooked up a veritable storm for my home-bound brothers. But, like light glinting off jewels, there have been these diamond drops of loveliness amidst the rush. These minutes which, one by one, lead me into the joy of this season. I thought I’d share a few:
What Child is This? duet sung by Andrea Bocelli and Mary J. Blige. (You can get it on iTunes, but the link will take you to an upcoming free download.) Plaintive, earthy, transcendent. I first heard this as we drove over sere, wheaten fields and my throat was so full of a joy that was half tears, I couldn’t speak. Gwen found it first. A friend of her’s had said “we should have to listen to eachother’s music.” The woman who said it had originally meant that the youth, traditional, and contemporary services were a bit too fragmenting to the relationships of her church. Gwen however, took this to mean that we girls should all pick our favorite songs and listen to them on our long winter drives through the hills. Chills, tears, or some jolt of wonderment. I’ll be surprised if one of them doesn’t come to you when you hear this song.
Pilgrim’s Inn, by Elizabeth Goudge. I will be reviewing this book (along with three others I’ve neglected) quite soon. In a way, this story is a picture of what I hope to one day create in and through and by the mysterious power of my someday home. The story culminates in a Christmas celebration, and so I always feel it to be appropriate to this season. But the spiritual depth of insight, the startling liveness of the houses and countrysides in Goudge’s novels, the characters that feel real as your family, they are a comfort and a world in which to sink oneself when Christmas craze needs quieting.
Sticky Toffee Pudding. I served this at my book release/Christmas teas and think it is about as English as you can get. Though not exactly the “figgy pudding” of the carol, it’s close. A warm, spicy cake drenched in a caramel sauce requiring an unholy amount of brown sugar, butter, and cream. It has all the hallmarks of a decadent holiday desert. I make a point of getting this whenever I am in England. My friend Stephanie has tweaked her recipe to perfection.
And just so you’ll know, a friend suggested I blog a bit of what went on last Saturday at the book teas. So, if you want a taste of the literary festivities, you can read the post: Books, Tea, and Celebration – A Recap of the Parties in Three Parts.
Peace, peace, and oh such joy to you this week my friends.