These Treasures

Purple Heath (Heather) and Snowdrops (Candlemas Bells, Fair Maids of February) Dot the Neighbourhood

The only requirements of our soul are righteousness, holiness, truth, love, mercy, meekness, peace, spiritual freedom, or the grace of God in the heart. These treasures give life to our whole being, and are eternal. ~ St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ)

Clutter

High water mark on local beach, with a vibrant collection of organic debris.

Seek what suffices, seek what is enough, and don’t desire more. Whatever goes beyond that produces anxiety not relief: it will weigh you down instead of lifting you up. ~ St. Augustine

A true person with all his energy, spiritual first of all, struggles to simplify life, to understand what he lives by. Man wants to and must fight to get out of the maze… with all his temptations. A person who makes the purpose of his life the accumulation of property and money is a weak person, he is a victim of the evil one. Having acquired wealth, he gains the fear of losing them, becomes not their master, but a thoughtless guardian of the false treasures… Instead of keeping the word of the Lord, which is the essence of life, he keeps the fake treasures… and thus betrays himself…. ~Archimandrite Justin Parvu

The condition of our surroundings often seem to reflect our state of mind.

I lie here in corners, trussed and piled so high, And in chests I am locked so fast, I cannot stir; in packs low I lie. ~ says ‘Goods’ to ‘Everyman’ (from Everyman: a 15th century English morality play)

Is an item useful? Does it bring glory to God? Does the memory associated with this item instill simplicity of beauty and peace within my Christian home? There is indeed a spiritual benefit… of quiet calmness, which permeates a clean and orderly home.

For indeed, a house is a little church… ~ St. John Chrysostom

Our Little Nativity Crèche

Published in Home For the Holidays issuu magazine November 25, 2022 (page 16)

Treasures of Christmases Past

Opening boxes of Christmas ornaments is like greeting old friends again. They’re all special, inspiring, and priceless.

Included in our treasure troves are two tattered cardboard circles, with glittery bits of Christmas cards glued to the greasy back of a pizza box. In my mind’s eye I see our toddlers deep in concentration, their puckered little mouths moving rhythmically to each opening and closing of the blunt scissors… a testament to earlier times when sparse finances and homemade adornments were inspired through necessity.

A Queen’s Guard Soldier lies cupped in the palm of my hand. Although his paint is faded, he stands ever at attention as a wooden clothes peg. Our daughter made him in kindergarten, and the threaded loop through his skewed black pom pom hat disintegrated ages ago. He will be stationed on a tree branch, propped up beside the inevitable paper plate sprinkled with dried macaroni, and spray painted gold.

My mom’s embroidered blue bird roosts next to the dainty satin butterfly from my mother-in-law.

Meanwhile, the Three Wise Men bauble our 7 year old hand-sewed himself, is whimsically suspended near a flock of his origami pterodactyls.

At the top of the tree, reposing beneath a chipped Christmas Star is the large, red, paper angel-card my husband made for me the first year we dated. Although the angel wings have long since curled up at the edges, the sparkly Merry Christmas card greeting remains divinely intact.

Of course we own a few store bought decorations. One of which was a gift, a little Christmas Crèche. Although it wasn’t something we’d have bought for ourselves, this sweet little manger scene with animals quickly joined the cherished seasonal entourage.

In keeping with the situation, the Crèche is reverently displayed on top of our piano… despite the fact that one of the sheep’s plastic legs was completely gnawed off by our teething son (who, coincidentally, later became vegan).

Decades later, the precious little lamb continues to defy the law of physics and nobly stands guarding the manger crib, along with the pristine ox, and donkey.

To me, he’s much more than a simple 3-legged plastic lamb.

He’s an unsung model of hope and perseverance in adversity.

God bless us, everyone!

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