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Monday, December 17, 2012

The Shining Gifts

The front door and bathroom are decorated. Paul came over and lifted boxes down off the high shelves for me; I damned near wiped myself out trying to get them down. So now the tree is up, the presents wrapped and under it. The Beest doesn't care so long as the packages don't have ribbons (learnt that last year). The bar is set up and ready for business. There are a couple more things to do but all the big deals are done. Not bad, not bad at all. There were surprises today, Stevil made some JibJab ecards that are hilarious. One that stars Muffinpants, Cam, Special K, him and myself that I must've watched a dozen times and still crack up. And Kick, who already floored me with "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", sent me a lovely Irish tea set, complete with cookies (already gone!) and tea. I cried again. Christmas is good, but friends are better and friends that are family are the best. .

I miss my brother Beery. We've been talking more regularly lately, and it brings back the old times of running around in his Camaro, shopping, decorating my Mother's house. We used to take a Christmas morning picture with bows on our foreheads every year. I haven't spent the holidays in NY since 1998. And you can't go home again. But I'm glad for the memories and I cherish them. There are too many who don't even have them.

Beery's favorite Christmas movie is "The Bishop's Wife". Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young as an angel, a bishop and his wife. If you've never seen it, run right out now and find it. It's wonderful. And it's from the bishop's Christmas sermon that I quote:

“Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries; we celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, the sound of bells and with gifts. But especially with gifts. You give me a book; I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer, and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled -- all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. It's his birthday we are celebrating. Don't ever let us forget that. Let us ask ourselves what he would wish for most, and then let each put in his share. Loving kindness, warm hearts and the stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.”

I'm not a Christian but that's a universal message. All the religions on Earth, the real ones, teach love. It's the only reason to have religion, to teach love and kindness and sharing. To remind us regularly that the world isn't about ourselves and our problems and egos and little spheres of influence. To make us look beyond our own lives and inspire us to a higher good. A good that isn't corruptible.

Last Friday shook us all. There are many discussions going on about what to do. The entire issue is fraught with reactionary fervor. It's a big puzzle with many pieces and we're all trying to make sense while in shock. If we learned anything from September 11th, 2001, it should be to not go off and make decisions while we're raw. We need to cry and heal a little so our brains settle down and we can do meaningful work to prevent this insanity from recurring. We've avoided it for too long. It's time we face this and deal with it. But when we do, let's put those shining gifts in there. Loving kindness, warm hearts and the stretched out hand. With those, we can change the world.

13 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Another beautiful post full of hope and love....

Austan said...

I don't know why the type shrunk, folks. Sorry about that- use your zoom- I don't have the time right now to take it apart and figure it out. Sorry!

Austan said...

Lawless, you're a lovely human being.

The Elephant's Child said...

' Loving kindness, warm hearts and the stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.'

That sounds just about perfect to me. Thank you.
You are waaay ahead of me on the wrapping/decorating front. This week is mayhem (doctor's/dentists appointments for one or other of us everyday) and other commitments too. However, finally some presents are wrapped (and sliced open by Jazz) and today I bought some flashing stars to put up. I will get there. I think I can, I think I can...
Brilliant post - megathanks.

Geo. said...

Austan, thanks for this. The Niven sermon was, is, perfect. As an actor, his characterizations were subtle, believable. Some say because he always played Niven. I think it was because he always played from the heart, a very dapper "everyman". I'm getting the film.

Pearl said...

Nicely done.

There should be only one religion: love.

Pearl

Austan said...

EC: You'll get there, there's still almost a week... well, that's what I'm telling myself. Thanks for making the world a better place with all you do. You have "it".

Austan said...

Geo.- you're going to love this movie. That's a perfect description, "a very dapper everyman." All the characters in it are real as well as fanciful. A lovely holiday film.

Austan said...

Pearl, I absolutely agree. All we need is love.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Okay, now you've gone and embedded that song into my head... "All you need is love..." (Guess I'll be humming it all day, now.)

Great post, kiddo. I haven't seen that movie in a lot of years, but I'm ready to see it again. Thanks for the reminder. And you're spot on about not making any post-tragedy decisions this time while the feelings are still so raw.

Sounds like your Christmas is well on its way to being a terrific one. We're getting there. Just a few more things to wrap. Baking to do. (As my husband so less-than-subtly reminded me last night.)

Thanks for the e-card. That was really sweet of you. A very Merry Christmas to you, too, and all the best in 2013. (OY! 2013... can ya believe it?)

Austan said...

Susan- All you need is love, da-dadadada, all you need is love...:)
It's a sweet little movie.
Yes, time we act like grownups.

Baking starts when the Irish cream is ready, which is this weekend. I gotta say, I'm happy there is a carols station on my tv so music can just play on while I'm doing all the futzing. And hey, why doesn't Smarticus do some baking?

My pleasure. I can't resist hokey charm. Merry Christmas fellow Scot- we gotta stick together, there ain't many of us around! (and no, I can't believe it's 2013. It was 1975 two weeks ago.)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Who SAYS we've gotta act like grown-ups?

As for Smarticus doing any baking? Not a good idea. Years ago, before we even had any kids, we used to make these stupid bets with each other all the time. One of the ones I "won" meant I'd get breakfast in bed. Sounds pretty nice, huh? Well, he made pancakes. (Not baking, but close enough...) Those suckers were about an inch and a half thick, which of course meant the insides were still ooey gooey. Not bad enough? He managed to find some old funky strawberries in our fridge and threw them in, too. Old funky ROTTEN strawberries. Since that time, not of our beds risked him cooking anything for me...

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

HA! "Not of our beds"? (ahem) NONE of our BETS. (Shoulda proofread!)