As I carefully wrap the stained glass crèche’, I remember the artist that made this for me. He has passed on now, but his elegant art pieces still delight my heart and soul. This crèche’ is still in the box that he made me to fit the long mirror behind the manger characters. The mirror reflects their colored garments and creates a “double” manger effect. I wonder each year if that happens in heaven. Is whatever I do to celebrate the birth of Christ reflected in my Father's eyes? I am grateful that twenty-five years ago, I spent our grocery money on this lovely symbol of Christmas. Each year, it helps me understand the gift of Christ. Next, I pack away music boxes that still play as well as the day I bought them forty years ago. Each music box is housed in its own cardboard box ( some tatterted and bulky) but easily recognizable to me when I unpack the decorations each year.
I think I compartmentalize my life in much the same way as my Christmas decorations. My favored art items are framed, and my art supplies are tucked in special spaces in my art room. I recognize them quickly and feel an endearment within. I appreciate the process of painting as much as the end result. Bright colors, rich paints, fine watercolor paper, treasured rubber stamps all bring me so much pleasure. It is a kind of celebration each day with these colored papers , stimulating art books, or my quick sketches of birds and flowers. These items decorate my life in such a special way.
I am in much the same box that I have been my married life. I quickly recognize that I am too round and too bulky when I pass a mirror. I just keep me in this same container and begin every New Year’s journal with, “This is the year I am going to lose thirty pounds and keep it off.” My intentions outweigh my results at the end of each year.
Another compartment that I reuse year after year is collecting wonderful friends. My circle of friends grows more diverse each year. I join new groups, meet new people, or try new classes. Each of these activities introduces me to new and interesting friends that shape me, mold me, teach me, and affirm me. Without these dear people, my life would be empty, boring, and useless. As I add friends, it reminds me of how I have added boxes of Christmas décor through the years. The old treasures remind me of good times past. The new decorations bring new life to me and my surroundings.
Every year I think I have gathered all the Christmas decorations and completed my task. However, when I get around to New Year’s cleaning, I inevitably discover a Christmas angel or a carved Santa that I have forgotten to pack. I am amused that this little token escaped my “thorough” scan on packing day. Isn’t that just like my life? I think I have all the loose ends tied and completed. I determine that my chores are completed for this day and realize I didn't turn on the crock pot before I rushed out of the house in early morning. Then, on a sunny summer day I discover a missed appointment because I have frolicked in my gardens too long and not consulted my calendar or my watch. Sometimes , I get a phone call from a friend that I have neglected and just needs to chat. As I hold this unpacked ornament, I realize that my job of packing and closing is only partially done until that very last day of my life.