I am gearing up for Christmas. My trip to Germany and tour of the Christmas market have got me into the excitement of it all. I love everything about Christmas starting with the first Sunday of Advent when the first candle is lit on the Advent wreath. In Germany everyone has a festively decorated plate with oranges, nuts, apples and homemade (or shop bought in my case) cookies which they put out on the coffee table so that you can pick at all the delicious bits and pieces all afternoon. The smell of woodland from the wreath combined with the aroma of gingerbread, cinnamon, cloves, honey and mulled wine really goes to my head! Outside it is growing dark and it is so comforting to be in the warmth looking out at the houses with their Christmas lights.
Last evening I went to a church carol service. It was all so peaceful and pleasant to be singing the old familiar carols and a few I didn't know. The church is really old and looks like something out of a nostalgic Christmas card. I walked the few blocks home afterwards feeling at peace with the world.
When I was a child we got a lot of Christmas cards and I loved looking at the various pictures: snow covered streets, old churches with the warm yellow light of candles showing at the windows, horses and carriages and ladies dress in long skirts. I really wanted my Christmas to be like that but mostly we didn't even get frost let alone snow and we walked to Midnight Mass. I do recall one frosty starry night which held a special magic because I could imagine the shepherds guarding their flocks on such a night.
I can think of no better quote for this time of year than from Charles Dickens: 'I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.'
Happy Christmas to everyone wherever you are.