OH COME…By Lori A Alicea

With two weeks remaining until Christmas Day, I find myself in the throes of the season’s busyness, checking off lists and making new lists with moments to spare when Christmas morning arrives.

The grandchildren have wish lists of their own.thanksgiving writing santa

Our house is decorated with twinkling lights in every corner to capture a grandchild’s fantasy.IMG_E9218

Homemade sugar cookies are ready for them in the freezer to bake; my mother ‘n laws recipe which doesn’t disappoint their visit.

I can’t seem to find the time to write those Christmas poems I love to send each year instead of cards. But I am giving you access to one of my Christmas stories for your delight.

Countdown To A Christmas Miracle By Lori A. Alicea

My husband wants to bless our neighbors with a loaf of fresh baked bread and a jar of newly canned strawberry jelly, which has found its place on the list.

Christmas crafts await their turn, with a loud alarm sounding to get busy.

Mounds of gifts have yet to be wrapped, although for the small price of a home cooked dinner, my sister and daughter have scheduled a day to take this undesired task from my hands.IMG_9988

Yes, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

The little girl in me refuses to grow up during this magical season.

I drive on purpose through the town’s crowded streets, slowly taking in the festival of lights on every corner.

Every now and then though when the chaos of the holiday rests for a moment of silence, I hear the Lord in the background beckoning me with the words of an old familiar hymn,

Oh Come….

Having my undivided attention, God whispers again to this child at Christmas,

Oh Come…

To a place two thousand years ago, where shepherds keeping watch over their flocks at night, are visited by an angel, with good news to tell them.

8There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)

The shepherds said to one another,

Oh Come….

To see what the Lord has told them about.

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

To honor the Christ child, born lying in a manger.

Oh Come…let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Luke 2:15-16
IMG_0002

I’m guilty every year of being too busy at Christmas.

Yet, God wants to tear up our lists and start a new one with just two small words,

Oh Come…

To witness a child born in a lowly stable, as there wasn’t any room for them at the Inn.

A child born with nothing, but would grow up to give us everything in eternal life, when He gave up his life in exchange for ours on the cross.

Forgive me Lord for my overcrowded lists during the month of December.

Forgive me Lord for my inability to hear those two small words which are drowned out during the hustle and bustle of the holiday,

Oh Come…

To stop and adore you, the true reason for the season.

Lord, you are worthy of our praise.

You deserve the hymn of our heart…

Oh Come…Let us adore him, Christ the Lord.IMG_9991

THE EMPTY CHAIR By Lori A Alicea

Honoring those families,
those loved ones not taking their seat at the holiday table this year.
We celebrate you, we miss you, we honor you this season of change,
The Empty Chair.

We welcome in the holidays,
Festivities begin.
November to December end,
These days are penciled in.

TABLE Holiday Thanksgiving

TABLE Holiday XMAS 2018 alicea xmas kids 14
The list of things to do is long,
With many meals prepare.
And tables set to celebrate,
Those seated in each chair.

TABLE Family Thanksgiving

TABLE Family Xmas
The holidays, they dare to change,
In subtle ways appear.
When looking back the portrait of,
The family then last year.

LAST Thanksgiving Portrait

Emotions indescribable,
Without you seated there.
Your smile and sweater worn remains,
Our mother’s empty chair.

TABLE Mom Picture Sweater

So many tables set for us,
Remember all you do.
Our mom who gave us memories,
In turn, we gave to you.

thanksgiving with dad2018 alicea xmas 8
When gather for a family meal,
Remember what we share.
And treasure those we’re seated by,
Who occupy each chair.

TABLE Grandkids Anniversary TABLE Grandkids Jake Crystal
Because the portrait might just change,
From what we’ve always known.
The table set this holiday,
Could find one all alone.

TABLE Ate Alone

Forgive us if we tend to stare,
Our mother’s empty chair.

TABLE Mom Picture Sweater

And see her with a deck of cards,

TABLE Cards

Or love her grand-kids there.

IMG_4762 TABLE Grandkids Cumbees
Another table has been set,
Another home reside.
Though missing you this holiday,
With Christ you sit beside.

IMG_4904

Mere words or thoughts could dare convince,
Her absence us prepare.
How much we miss our mother’s chair,
And see her sitting there.

LAST Thanksgiving Portrait TABLE Mom Picture Sweater

CHRISTMAS THROUGH MY EYES By Lori A Alicea

Christmas through my eyes is a holiday stroll thru an old vintage Christmas card that tells its story through the sweet faces of children when the scenery of a simpler home encouraged peacefulness and allowed you to catch your breath during its festivity celebrations because the pace of the clock in its time slowed you down.

The Victorian Christmas tree lit with candles and ornaments sparsely decorating the freshly cut spruce, yet a seasonal announcement of joy and loveliness as the children in awe of it.
girl by tree

Brothers and sisters skate on the afternoon ice, with little girls keeping their delicate hands toasty warm inside a soft muff of velvet fur.
skaters

The winter’s gentle wind kiss a child’s face during their joyful sled ride down a hill dusted from an early morning snow.
girl on sled

Bonnets and bows and swirls of curls adorn all those angelic cherubs of Christmas.

 

With children fast asleep in their dreams, imagining the gifts that Christmas morning will bring them.
kid in bed

While a vintage Christmas card is only a dream portraying Christmas back in time, I love the innocence and calm of a simpler life where the hustle and bustle of our holiday hadn’t found its way to theirs.  That small tokens of a parent’s affection ignited a child’s delight on Christmas morning the way I believe it was supposed to.  Maybe I’m the child dreaming, but a simpler Christmas feels like the gift we’re all meant to open.

Continuing that Christmas stroll through a timeless vintage card, I find my gifts beneath the tree in my grandchildren wearing their old fashioned pajamas.

Three of them still in diapers and all four dressed back in the day when horses pulled carriages and fireplaces heated your home, my vintage Christmas card through a grandmother’s eyes come to life.
xmas jammies (2)

Another grandchild living far away completes this vintage card of cousins enjoying an old fashioned Christmas.
cova and xmas jammies

Maybe I’m showing my age or that the music of my heart stills plays from an antique Victrola.  But Christmas through my eyes will always be that walk through a old vintage Christmas town where the slowed life of the season is framed around time with family and children.

 

As the years passed by and new grandchildren found their place in the Christmas card, the old fashioned pajamas the others outgrew were passed on to them as heirlooms.  New Christmas wear was ordered though for those whose vintage nightclothes didn’t fit anymore yet still wanted to match their siblings.

 

Victorian children or not, each child strays from their “picture perfectness” during Christmas.

As words to a holiday song we sing,
“You better watch out”.
hollis pj xmas jammies

“You better not pout”.
2016 england xmas jammies PRINT 2

 Santa sees all the good little boys and girls.

YOU’D BETTER WATCH OUT.
cova hollis face baby xmas jammies

As grandparents of that first vintage holiday card, we hold dearly the memory when our Christmas children were small.

The hands of our Christmas clock continues to move forward in the seconds, minutes and hours.  Yet how we wish Father Time could hold back the hours a bit longer when Papa’s Christmas babies still fit in his lap.
2012 jammies

We delight though when we see the tree crowded again from the new gifts in our grandchildren of Christmas present.  Just when you believe your heart is full to capacity, God opens a new chamber for more love to beat from.

 

While an old vintage card might stir up Christmas in the little girl through my eyes, it’s the sacred love and magical wonder of Christmas that truly lights up a child’s eyes come Christmas morning.
2017 aubrey xmas jammies 8 THIS ONE

Though the vintage pajamas our ten grandchildren once wore and pictured in our holiday cards are now packed away in the drawers of Christmas past.  I continue to keep the old fashioned spirit of Christmas alive during the holiday season, aspiring to the calm and innocence of a simpler Christmas as family portrayed on a Victorian Christmas card.