“Stars of heaven, clear and bright, Shine upon this Christmas light, Vaster far than midnight skies Are its timeless mysteries.”

Last night it rained. The snow became pockmarked by the raindrops then most of it disappeared. The last of the snow is soft and wet. It was cloudy this morning, but I can see blue sky now and a hint of sunshine. Today is already 49˚ but it will be cold again tonight.

When I was a kid, the closer we got to Christmas the more difficult it was for me to breathe. I was in a constant state of excitement with all the Christmas doings. I loved the late afternoon when my brother and I raced to turn on the window candles. The best, a five candle tier, was in the picture window. It had all orange bulbs. The candles were sort of an off-white plastic, and most were taped to the window sill so they wouldn’t keep falling over from the weight of the bulbs. We had to screw the bulbs on as there were no switches. We had to screw them off as well, but we never raced for that. The bulbs were always hot to the touch. I used to lick my fingers before I touched the hot bulbs.

My mother kept us busy to distract us, to keep us calm, a huge undertaking. My favorite day was when we decorated sugar cookies. My mother made Santas, bells, trees and angels. She’d have bowls of white frosting and colored frosting in green, red and yellow. None of us were particularly talented. The trees were the easiest. I’d color them green, naturally, then I’d make strings of yellow and red lights. Santa was a bit more complicated because of the white pompom on his hat and his beard. The key was to frost the red parts first and try to leave space for the white. My Santas tended to look all the same. The angels got the yellow frosting. Sometimes we’d cover the whole cookie in white then we’d sprinkle with green or red or colored jimmies. That was usually when we had gotten tired and maybe a bit bored.

I always thought that at Christmas time everything seemed to look different, as if the world around me was covered by an aura. Even now I sometimes think that, especially at night when the air is clear and the sky star-lit and Christmas lights shine from the houses. Last night I went around and turned on my tree lights. In the kitchen I turned on the red pepper and scallop shell lights entwined around a shelf. I stood for a while enchanted by how lovely my house looks at night, how warm it is, how perfect for Christmas.

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6 Comments on ““Stars of heaven, clear and bright, Shine upon this Christmas light, Vaster far than midnight skies Are its timeless mysteries.””

  1. flyboybob Says:

    Yesterday I saw a car with an array of LED green and red lights flashing around the edges of his windshield. When i was a teenager living in NYC I went to the Hayden Planetarium regularly because my orthodontist’s office was across W81st street. The show I remember was about the Christmas star. Although it’s probably just a figment of the author’s imagination, there is a possibility that it might have been a super nova. In any event trying to prove any religious event with science is silly. You have to take these things on faith. Faith is something that you believe it that nobody else in their right mind would believe. πŸ™‚

    Yesterday was Pope Francis’s birthday and I saw a picture of him standing next to a huge pizza with a candle. It reminded me of the Saturday Night Live skit with the character Father Guido Sarducii/ He was running a fund raiser contest to find the popes in the pizza. πŸ™‚

    I was in the Jewish Community Center Sunday watching my daughter practice for Special Olympic basketball. The practice was held in the Donsky Gymnasium. I’m always amazed that JCCs, churches and synagogs have to plaster contributors names on rooms and things to get donations. “Oh, look there’s the Morris Schwartz memorial broom closet. Schwartz was too cheap to donate a room.” I keep waiting to find the Harry Rabinowitz memorial urinal in a synagog men’s room. After all, the spirit of giving only goes so far. When big donations are involved the givers want recognition of their wealth.

    Today it’s raining on and off. We really needed the moisture to ward off the draught.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I bet it was a super nova which then became, by interpretation, the Christmas star. Natural events became religious miracles. It is similar A Connecticut Man in King’s Arthur’s Court when he predicted the eclipse in a magical way and saved his life, all because he remembered.

      I agree that faith is belief in the unseen and things which can’t be proved.

      Father Guido was a hoot. I loved his costume.

      I remember seeing the same thing at the bottoms of stained glass windows in the church. Most were in memory of someone. Colleges do much the same thing, even naming whole buildings after contributors.

      We finally have some sun, and it is warm.

      • Bob Says:

        I would put my money on a supernova. On Sunday someone mentioned that his Rabbi explained the difference between a miracle and a wonder. He said a wonder has a possible explanation even though the odds are extremely high. A miracle is something without any possible explanation. Therefore, the Christmas Star is a wonder while a virgin birth is a miracle or just a made up story. The Greek and Roman gods had virgin births in their mythology.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        I like those explanations.

  2. Birgit Says:

    The plants on my window sill are finally decorated with lights and stars but apart from that my home is a mess. The good thing is that I still have some more days until Christmas Eve.
    It was discussed whether stores should open on Christmas Eve because it’s a on Sunday this year. When it’s a workday they are usually open until 2 pm. Christmas Eve is our main celebration day. I was glad to read that most people prefer closed shops on this day though it’s 3 days in a row without shopping and now only a few shops will open on Christmas Eve morning. Family Christmas has won, commerce has lost πŸ™‚ At least for now, the fight for Sundays as a day of rest goes on.

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      We lost the battle of stores being closed on Sundays a long time ago. Christmas Eve will probably be no different for many stores, but I noticed last year some stores closed early. I hope more follow suit and let their employees go home to families.

      My house is quite festive with decorations in every room but fewest in this room. I figure because there is so little room in here. I’ll have to add something or even just light up a Bolga basket or two.

      The aroma of the tree is all through the downstairs. I love it.


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