As I’d creep down the basement stairs, a lifetime ago, it seems, I would spy the neatly arranged boxes on the shelf. And even in the middle of the hot summer, a shiver would run down my spine. Because I knew what those boxes contained. Christmas!
The old glass ornaments, the team of white plastic reindeer, the Santa and Christmas caroler candles, the Advent wreath…
And though it seemed like Christmas would never come, I was comforted by the thought that any time I needed assurance that the calendar was slowly, but surely turning it’s pages toward December 25th, I’d look at those boxes.
Years later, when I was on my own, and did not have many decorations yet, my mom got some new Christmas ornaments, and gave me a box of some of the old ones she was replacing. The colorful glass kind-Shiny Brites. And it was like she’d given me a piece of my childhood.
I still have those ornaments, too. The one pictured above holds a special place in my heart. I remember gazing wistfully at it as a little girl, and even though there is nothing extraordinary about it, I remember I loved it more than any other. It still even has the original piece of thread attached for hanging on the tree.
This year I was lucky to find a vintage Nativity set from the 1950s, at Goodwill, for $3.99.
It reminds me of one of my favorite Christmas poems-an English carol, actually. The words were written in the 1920s by Robert Davis.
The Gift of the Animals
Jesus our brother, kind and good
Was humbly born in a stable rude
And the friendly beasts around Him stood
Jesus our brother, kind and good.
"I," said the donkey, shaggy and brown,
"I carried His mother up hill and down;
I carried her safely to Bethlehem town."
"I," said the donkey, shaggy and brown.
"I," said the cow, all white and red
"I gave Him my manger for a bed;
I gave Him my hay to pillow His head."
"I," said the cow, all white and red.
"I," said the sheep with curly horn,
"I gave Him my wool for His blanket warm;
He wore my coat on Christmas morn."
"I," said the sheep with curly horn.
"I," said the dove from the rafters high,
"Cooed Him to sleep that He should not cry;
We cooed Him to sleep, my mate and I."
"I," said the dove from the rafters high.
"I," said the camel, yellow and black,
"Over the desert, upon my back,
I brought Him a gift in the Wise Men's pack."
"I," said the camel, yellow and black.
Thus every beast by some good spell
In the stable dark was glad to tell
Of the gift he gave Emmanuel,
The gift he gave Emmanuel.
And this year Willow has added her own verse.
“I” said Willow, warm and soft,
With my wagging tail sent a glass ornament aloft…
Did I mention how cute Willow is? It’s hard to stay mad at her for very long!
Do you have a favorite ornament?