In the spare, sparse state of our home, without tree or ornaments or garland or lights, I look back on pictures like this and ache just a little for the comforts of Christmas. There’s a magic when the lights of a Christmas tree are all that illuminate the living room, there is warmth in the stockings I made for us over a dozen years ago. Golden angels usually hold glowing candles here, and holiday greenery traditionally accents the wooden surfaces of the room. A wreath laid in the center of a table holds shiny gold ornaments, spilling the sparkling collection over its side in a happy seasonal wave of light-reflecting wonder.
Yet that is not what Christmas is about. Christmas doesn’t require the bombast and the sparkle, the decorations and the twinkling lights. Christmas has always been simpler, and deeper, for me – and for most of us. Even in the kitchenless wonderland of our house, where the hearth seems to have gone missing for the moment, the spirit of Christmas seeps through, lending its own warmth, and conjuring its own magic.
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“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” ~ Dr. Seuss