From base to summit, gay and bright,
There’s only splendor for the sight.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!
We are moving into the deepest darkness of the year, with Winter Solstice only a few days from now. Now we embrace the Halcyon Days and we step aside from our workaday cares to find the quiet, simple joys of this time.
Do you celebrate Yule with greenery, lights, and sparkly things? We certainly do. I would guess that most of us have annual rituals for Solstice decorating, whether we realize it or not. Whether you live alone, or with others, I bet you do something a little different and festive. If you share your living space, who at your house is the one who always untangles and hangs the lights? Do you all go together to buy or cut a tree? Do you play special music? Do you insist that all family members participate? Do you invite your dear friends over to join in? What special treats go with this event at your house?
I get very weary of the Christmas music that seem to start earlier and earlier each year, especially the pop tunes that are often tacky and trite, to my ears. But a couple of days ago, I was in my car on my way to somewhere, and a very old-fashioned choral rendition of “Oh Christmas Tree” came on the radio. To my amazement, tears sprang to my eyes!
But then I thought about it.
What else in our lives is more powerful than music? The intense emotional effects of music on consciousness and memory are well-documented. And no matter what your spirituality, if you, like me, have been hearing carols every single year for weeks at a time since you were a baby, there’s no way they can not have an emotional impact of some kind.
So the music plays, and as we decorate, we pull out our old favorite family ornaments. They can be powerful reminders of years gone by, and people no longer with us. So many stories and memories, and not always candy sweet, are contained in those boxes.
Still, my own most beloved ornaments were once my mother’s and grandmother’s before they died. I treasure the wooden angels that my mother hand-painted for me, and a beautiful Father Christmas made by my brother’s ex-wife, not just because they are lovely. Because honestly, I don’t know what they look like to outsiders. But to me they are exquisite and most magical.
Do you know what a glamour is? No, I don’t mean the magazine. A glamour is a specific kind of magic that has to do with creating an enchantment spell of beauty on an otherwise ordinary person or place. To the mundane eye, a small, slightly dented styrofoam snowman probably looks a bit shabby. But to the big sister of its maker, it is a thing of rare and delicate beauty. Now, that is glamour!
When we decorate our homes, we are making a glamour spell for our living space — adding sparkle and magic to otherwise ordinary spaces. Bringing a tree and evergreens into the house reminds us of life eternal, despite the killing cold. Shiny globes, twinkling lights, sentimental music, cinnamon and spice fragrances — all weave a spell of glamour that goes deep into our memory and spirit.
As we create the magic in our homes, remember that we are weaving the ancient tale of our family and our life story into this year’s holiday. And like all magical acts, it is so important to know what your intention is. What do you want to give your energy to this year? What glamour spell do you wish to make – a cozy inviting home? A beacon of warmth and light in a cold dark time? Sweet memories of our beloveds who have crossed over?
Let us make this the year that we truly slow down and savor the Yuletide pleasures. Heaven knows this has been a very difficult year for many of us. But in this gentle time out of time, let us deck the halls in ways that make merry. For you know that real glamour magic comes from the loving heart.
And speaking of spells, don’t forget that tomorrow is the next-to-final part of our Sun Wheel Prayer Circle. As we approach the pivotal moment when the Sun’s path halts its dark descent, we have been gathering together in a worldwide ritual. Please join us!