Not a Cloud in the Sky - January 5, 2011
Today was the 12th Day of Christmas. When these words are posted to my blog, it will be January 6, The Epiphany. The Christian denomination of which I am a member observes several church "seasons," beginning with Advent, followed by Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and The Season after Pentecost, with other special days in between. Then comes Advent, again.
I was born into and raised in the Southern Baptist Church and remained a Baptist for almost 54 years. My father was a graduate of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and an ordained Southern Baptist minister. Insofar as I remember, Southern Baptists don't officially observe any of the above mentioned church seasons, at least as such. Nevertheless, in all my days under my father's roof, we did not put up the Christmas tree until December 24, and it was taken down not a day before the morning of January 6. Thus it was all my growing-up years, and I continued the practice after I married and had children. Christmas was special, but didn't start until Christmas Eve, and it lasted through January 5.
My children's father and I separated and were divorced in 1962. Several years later, I met a man who, despite my having four young children, wanted to marry me -- and so we did, on December 2, 1968. The children and I moved into his home and he almost immediately put up a huge Christmas tree, waaay before December 24! A minor disagreement ensued, but I gave up my side of the argument because I saw that I was not going to win. Another, slightly more vigorous argument ensued when, on the morning of December 26, he started taking the tree down! I didn't win that one, either. We were married almost 21 years before he died and, until the last Christmas before his death, the tree went up around December 1, and came down on December 26. No Twelve Days of Christmas for us.
I moved to a much smaller home on December 14, 1990, and put up a Christmas tree that same day --- but only because I was hosting a pre-Christmas party for my coworkers in my new home. Even though it was artificial, I loved that tree, which was beautifully and lovingly decorated by my elder daughter. I loved it so much that I left it up until February!
Then, I took the tree down, separated and divided all the ornaments into four boxes, and gave them to my by-then-adult children, being sure that each one had a several of the ornaments we had used during the time they lived with me (the baby joined the Air Force in 1981.) I gave the tree away, too.
From time to time, I attempt to decorate my home for Christmas, but my heart is not in it anymore. Two years ago, I festively decorated my coffee table with a large candle and a bunch of Clementines. I did have a beautiful front door wreath this year, made by Gardening Daughter, but otherwise my house was bare of decoration. I save my energy for decorating the church for the Christmas Eve service and the Twelve Days of Christmas -- and there's plenty of that to do. Also requiring energy is the taking down of the decorations, which we did following the service tonight. After all, tomorrow is The Epiphany, and Christmas is over -- except for the work of Christmas, which, if you missed it, you can read about here.
Tomorrow is also a day.