I just love the cozy setting that becomes forced upon our gathering room when the Christmas tree takes up its place in front of the window. In summertime we live out of doors and when we finally come in we sprawl and drape ourselves about the furnishings with pool-soaked exhaustion, but only for a moment, as the black summer's night sprinkled with myriad twinkling stars beckons us back out to look up in wonder, and then dance blithely under the merry paper lanterns swinging from each nearby tree. But come fall we draw indoors a bit more, gazing out windows at the be-jewelled splendor of Autumn's last waltz. When the chill wind of winter blows we huddle near the fire, nestle down into the downy-pillowed sofas, and reach for a wrap to snuggle under as we balance cocoa and book before the dancing fire.
Though our winter be short compared to that of my northernmost friends, we enjoy each moment without complaint. Even now, as we have all dug to the bottom of chests in search of fluffy footwear, we chatter with excitement about the forecasted snow possibilities. Thick hearty stews laced with earthy root vegetables bubble merrily on the stove and yeasty accompaniments rise under cottony coverlets. Winter lies just around the corner and we have thrown wide our hearts to welcome the chilly season home again.
Daily I devote a string of quiet moments to prayer and soulful reading.
These days I have chosen books in celebration of the forthcoming Noel. My latest reads include Ruth Bell Graham's "A Quiet Knowing Christmas," a delightful mix of Graham-family traditions, historical information, foreign customs, backgrounds of stories and hymns, and mouthwatering recipes perfect for treating one's family. Along with that I am reading through Chuck Swindoll's "A Bethlehem Christmas," a re-telling of the Christmas event through first-person narrative of those in the moment. Richly researched and gently relayed . . . aaaah, I never tire of hearing the Christmas Story. My daily time in Scripture this year finds me more in Isaiah than in Luke or Matthew, but oh the treasures I have found in the foretelling of the Great Event. My heart sings with joy as I journey along the pilgrim's path to the lonely crib of wonder. Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Over the years I have collected a vast array of reading material unlocking thoughts and histories and joys of the advent season. I gather them together and place them within easy reach for the casual reader, and provide a nesting spot with facile access to teapot and cup for those of us more inclined to hunker down for a deep read. Footstools and quilts complete the invitation. So many come and enjoy at the fount of knowledge spilling forth in our "family room."
enJOY, my sweet friends. : )