Bring on the Hope and Joy and Peace and Love

The events of 2020 have impacted how we experience the holidays, AND LIFE.

Won’t you take a moment to share something with us? How are you doing this holiday season of 2020? How do you feel? What are you doing differently? Are you hanging in?

Me? I say:

Bring on the HOPE.

Bring on the JOY.

Bring on the PEACE.

Bring on the LOVE.

We need it.

By the way, I don’t really have any relevant photos, so I’ll just share some random ones from the year.

After an odd Thanksgiving, I’ve thought a lot about our holidays this year.

I am definitely experiencing the holidays differently both externally and internally.

What I’ve learned so far during these last 9 months is that if we look hard enough, we can find goodness in our current situation.

IMG_9209                                  I picked the last of the season a week or so ago

 

You might remember, if you’ve visited with me here for a while, that my quest has long been for a simple life. I’ve begged you all to tell me your secrets. I’ve read all the books. I say it every Christmas.

I’ve struggled with society’s demands for expensive complications for the season. My heart’s desire was to capture the “old days.” I’d long for the nothing other than the hope, joy, peace, love. I’d vow to leave behind all the trappings and commercialism.

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 This was in my local FaceBook feed. One of the joys of living in the country. 

 

I remember the first Christmas at my Christmas tree farm in the Appalachian Mountains. It was 2012. My daughter and I joined the local church for caroling. A local farmer took a crowd of us in a tractor-pulled hayride throughout the community. We’d stop at houses and carol. We sang all the traditional carols as loudly and as best we could. Sometimes we’d struggle for correct lyrics, but it didn’t matter.

I remember an elderly woman who insisted that we come into her warm house. We squeezed into her den like sardines to sing while some carolers crowded into the open front door and others sang from the front porch. I recall two things about that stop. One was the woman’s face. She had the sweetest smile and blue eyes that sparkled. The other memory is how hot it was in her home. We were in major winter wrappings and her house at 85 degrees inside. It was perfect.

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  Do you see the sweet red church with a steeple on a hill behind my horse shed?                            That’s the community church where I used to live.

I had lived long enough by then to realize that I was making a special memory. I drank in every moment, gluing it to the corner of my brain where lovely memories are stored. It was a cold, clear, magical night. I remember looking up to the moon-lit heaven as we bumped along a country road and felt that special thing in my heart. You know the thing? It’s warm and open and fluttering and peaceful and gentle. It penetrates you.

That was a simple Christmas event that meant the world to me. If only I could capture that every single year.

But I fail and fall into the rush, rush, rush.

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And then along comes 2020, and suddenly I’m well on my way. It’s shown us what is what. We see better the value in what is truly valuable and the frivolousness in much of what we thought was important.

For real: this year does anybody care about the trappings and commercialism? The stuff and the gifts? The over-decorating? The waste of food? The rush, rush, rush?

This Christmas my energy is focused more on the foundation of the holiday rather than the glitzy decorations, fun parties, and fabulous presents.

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             The quiet munching of Merlin. Pure peace.

              Excuse his witch’s knots on his mane and his fur stained with Georgia red clay.

THE TREE.

In about a week, we’ll go find a live tree to cut down, or we’ll bring home an already cut tree. It won’t be the largest and most perfect tree. It will be a medium-sized tree, probably flat and missing branches on one side. We’ll put the bad side towards the wall and put a few strings of brightly colored lights on it. Then we’ll add the ornaments that we have. (When we packed up our belongings to move to the new farm, no Christmas decorations jumped into our moving boxes. We’ve started from scratch.)

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  Last Christmas when we brought the tree inside.

                                                    That’s Jimmy.

                                     He loved the tree-in-the-house concept.

THE GIFTS.

These days, I don’t go shopping unless it’s necessary, so there will be no rushing around looking for perfect Christmas presents. Any shopping I do will be at the sleepy, local shops that really need the business. My town has a coffee roaster, a candlemaker, a liquor store, and a bookshop. Who wouldn’t want fresh coffee or a candle or a bottle of brandy or a book?

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  I just opened a Dove Peppermint Bark piece of candy.

                                                  This is what it said. 

THE FOOD.

Oh yes, they’ll be cookies. Yes, they’ll be lasagna on Christmas Eve and a turkey on Christmas Day. They’ll be buttered rum and eggnog. Oh yeah, they’ll be Dutch Babies for breakfast. But this year, we won’t make more than we can eat or share. This year we vow that NO FOOD will go to waste. That’s a challenge.

After my late summer dance with figs this year, I’m determined to find a recipe and make “Figgy Pudding.” Let’s hope it’s good since we will have to eat every bite.

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December 2020 has begun as a month of deep gratitude and simple merrymaking. This year our holiday will be more simple, sweet, green, modest, and holy.

Let’s do what our grandparents did: make the most and best out of what we have.

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                        I paused to admire the sunset the other evening.

Bring on the JOY.

Bring on the HOPE.

Bring on the PEACE.

Bring on the LOVE.

Bring on the MERRYMAKING.

Welcome.

Until next time, Friends,

Savor the Flavor of Life

Rebekah, The City Farmgirl in the Country

Leave a comment 20 Comments

  1. Lori Fresina says:

    I let go of commercialized Christmas a number of years ago. I make 1 or 2 people a lap quilt and that’s my “shopping”. The food part has no appeal either. I still enjoy the decorating (with things I’ve made) and the cookies (my daughter is a baker) but having a big feast is not needed. Simple and sweet is all I need and a good Christmas Mass. I organized caroling when the kids were small and it was a blast so I know that feeling. Have a blessed holiday!

  2. Patty Maiolo says:

    I love your article. This is how I feel inside. Reading it was like you knew me. I love the simplicity of life. This year has been so hard on everyone. Keeping what’s truly important and simple is so more meaningful today than ever. As Americans we have always reached deep down inside and grown stronger. The hardships of 2020 will pass and we will all be stronger for it as well as taking a huge step back and appreciating the little things in our lives. Merry Christmas. Patty

  3. Sharon Elaine says:

    My 2020 mission statement: You only have to do today, Yay! Did we appreciate carefree and normal? I just finished chemo so I’m double quarantined but I love home and simple living. I dug out my fabric stash and I’m making cloth napkins for Christmas gifts. The sound of my sewing machine is so soothing. Tramping through the woods with my Nikon is another way of focusing on the present. It’s all about the present – our present – each new day – a gift from God. Open it – enjoy it – share it.

  4. Marlene Capelle says:

    Thank you and happy holidays.

  5. Terri says:

    In an odd way I’m relishing the fact we have to stay home over the holidays. Thanksgiving was quiet, just the two of us and our sweet little puppy, and Christmas will be the same. We put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving so we could have lots of cheer and colorful lights after so much doom and gloom; we spent time reminiscing over the ornaments as we decorated, laughed at so many happy memories. As dire as things have been, and still seem to be, there is such comfort in living simply, mindfully…and thankfully. Merry Christmas!! And much hope for better times in the New Year!!

  6. Marilyn Hauth says:

    Thank you for the stories. What a nice break in the day.

  7. Elaine Cardell says:

    Memories of Christmases years ago bring back so many fond memories…they were simple for sure…and I miss those times. Wishing you and your family a Very Merry Christmas.

  8. Diane Van Horn says:

    The simple Christmas memory you shared is one of those that you can’t plan. They just happen. I hope that this past year has taught us all how to slow down, enjoy staying home, make things and be grateful. I know you have had a major adjustment in your life. I hope your Christmas is simple and a memory maker. Merry Christmas and a Hopeful and Grateful New Year, my Farmgirl Friend.

  9. Suzanne Lane says:

    This is so lovely, and just what I needed for this year’s Christmas season. Family won’t be coming over—we’re all in our own homes because of the coronavirus—and I am trying to keep things simple, too, in decorations, gifts, and food. Thank you for reminding me that love, hope, peace, these are the important things.

  10. Reba says:

    We are in the midst of Chanukah. On the first night there is a special blessing for bringing us once again to this time of year, with a grateful heart. Oh how much deeper the feelings go this year!! And how much richer the cherished moments with those close to us!! I hope this season finds you and all close to you, having more peace, joy, and health! Blessings, Reba

  11. You’ve said everything that has been in my heart this Christmas. The gifts have been small and thoughtful, the decorations simple and earthy, but the love had been beyond anything money can buy. Merry Christmas!

  12. Virginia Scott says:

    Thank you for the reminders.
    Relish each day.
    Blessings to you.

  13. Kathy says:

    Interesting…not for me…love it all – that does not mean I’m not cognizant of love, peace, joy, giving and faith or that I can’t take great pleasure in the quiet snowfall, crisp cold air and my horse’s thick coat and warm breath as I feed him. It just means for me there are many places in my soul for lots of stuff!

  14. Denise Ross says:

    May your Christmas be full of soul sweet gifts and precious loved ones connections, face to face or FaceTime. Treasuring our people, the full meaning of Christmas and living gratefully and joyfully, and delighting in the soul gifts with a few presents, time with my loved ones, that’s what I’m doing this year.

  15. Bonnie N. says:

    Thank you Rebekah, for thoughts of a simple Christmas , filled with the really important sights, sounds and gifts from the heart.
    We all need more love and need to give more love , to everyone we know. You gave me the warmth and a smile , reading your words.

  16. Teresa says:

    One of the first things I do when I pick up my MJ Farms Magazine is Read your page. You words always touch my soul , many of my feelings are put into words. Thank you .
    I feel a kindred Spirit though the fields .

  17. Lori Troilo says:

    So Love your blog!!! I’m a Farmgirl-Granny from Augusta, Ks. My grandboys call me Née-Naw. Yup. Sounds like Hee-Haw‍♀️

    Anywho….thank you for sharing

    Lori

  18. Deni says:

    Yes, Christmas used to be about rushing around, trying to make sure everyone was happy. Then I realized that you can’t make everybody happy–all you can do is to be happy yourself and appreciate those little things we all should be appreciating every day. Still, the Christmas season is so very special, and I love the artwork of the greeting cards and the good Christmas music–every year I think that all the artists do their best work for Christmas, and that’s so fitting. I love bringing out all the little Christmas lights and candles, which we keep up (a few inside) all winter to brighten our spirits through the long evenings–in fact, we are sitting here with the recorded Yule Log fire on the TV and the little lights in the windows, and a pretend fire in the woodstove, since we are feeling too lazy tonight to build a real one. Your picture of the Appalachians looks like where we live–used to live in the flatlands ‘way down south, now in Virginia. I feel so grateful every day to just BE HERE–it is a lovely paradise-like setting. I have tried and tried, and cannot find anyone who does caroling anymore, such a shame—I remember doing that in my church when growing up and it was such fun. Your pig story reminded me of when we used to live right on this same country road we are off of now, and our neighbor’s pigs marched right in front of our house in a line–they had been missing, and he had gone and gotten them and was leading them with a pail of corn. There was a big sow, then a medium-sized one, then about two tiny ones, then another medium one, then some more little ones, so cute…. Ah, the country! It is the only place for me. I’m reading this in January–so Happy New Year, ya’ll!

  19. Lisa Simmons says:

    I appreciate the warmth of memories from a holiday spent with family and friends. We are rather isolated in our little piece of heaven. The winds are howling right now but, the sky is blue. The farm is simple as is most of life in our small town on the outside some inner turmoil creeps in d/t our world happenings but, peace, love and hope tend to make things better. I love that you have so many interest and communicate those so well in your blog. l am a nurse, farmer, exploring with art and nature, kind of woman who enjoys family first. I’m always looking for new interest, right now volunteer work in ethics/law as a nurse. I love advocating for people who struggle in life as we all do at some point. It’s in our actions that we can help others to experience feelings of peace and love that help to transform our world. Signed Me, a gradual work in progress.

  20. Donna Rowe says:

    I’ve been making oodles of Luna bunnies and lots of lap quilts. It makes me happy to be productive and makes others happy to be thought if and tangibly blessed. A win win!

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