The road ends, but the journey continues...

A Smattering of Yuletide Thoughts

This year I opted to not send out Christmas cards, offer a winter solstice meditation blog post (see a great one here and here) or decorate our little rental in the spirit of the season. It’s not a big deal, just the way things are for me this year (and without little ones, I have the luxury to choose that option). And no, I’m not depressed it’s just that – heck, I still haven’t finished writing thank-you notes after Dad’s funeral in October. And I feel worse about that than my decision to not fully participate in holiday traditions this year. The pull for me to formally acknowledge my deep appreciation to those who offered support during that time – by whatever means – is nagging at my sense of etiquette along with a desire to just say thanks; let them know their sympathies mattered.
Quite frankly, I think I’ve gone a bit too long in finishing them so I am trying to just let it go rather than dwell on my increasing feelings of guilt.
breathe in – breathe out – release the burden
Yet here it is Christmas. My heart is not cold, just a bit into itself and kind of relieved to have what some might deem a boring celebration. Spent more as a bystander rather than active participant.
That said, a few days ago, I happened upon a Charlie Brown type tree on clearance for $3.40 at the local Hobby Lobby. It’s all of 20 inches high and lopsided, but sports twinkly green aluminum branches adding a festive sparkle to the coffee table. And it’s a funny thing, a few paper-wrapped items have mysteriously appeared on that same table one-by-one each day since.
On Christmas Eve – tomorrow – hubby and I are gonna go to the movies and see a special ‘big screen’ showing of one his favorites: “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
Yes, the Christ of Christmas has managed to manifest His presence by sneaking in some fun; releasing my burdens.
Did I mention I baked a single batch of just one specially selected Christmas cookie recipe? Enough to fill our little rental with memory smells and fill our mouths with sensory pleasure.
O tidings of comfort and joy – comfort and joy – O tidings of comfort and joy

God rest ye merry, gentle(wo)men
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

…and then there are the Minions…
Merry Christmas everyone


  1. sportsattitudes

    I can’t think of better motivation to get “into” Christmas than a Charlie Brown tree…and Minions of course. There is so much “pressure” to make each Holiday Season memorable, better than the last,. The fact is each one, no matter how many traditions are kept, are unique. Life happens. People pass away. We get older. Occupations go poorly. Life. Each Christmas I believe we should strive to keep in mind why it exists and work “up” from there as high as we wish to go with the decorating, gift-giving, cards, etc. Sorry for your loss earlier in 2016…the best to you and yours in 2017.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, yes, and yes again…you nailed it!
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving that insightful comment.

  2. Lulu

    Merry Christmas, Laura! I think it’s great that you are taking your time, recognizing your needs, and taking care of yourself. In a culture that pretty much dictates how we should spend our time between Thanksgiving and January 1st (parties, planning, card-writing, decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking, eating, and caught up in a perfectionistic frenzy), it feels abnormal to do anything that goes against the trend – I know because this makes the second year in a row that I didn’t decorate (third, technically, because in 2014 I was in treatment and living with my best friend). For the first time in as long as I can remember, I simply gave up on my Christmas cards. I will finish writing them eventually. Maybe people will appreciate the personalized messages and overlook the lateness. I gave up on Christmas shopping, too. I only bought gifts for my closest family this year, and that was all done online. It feels weird, but I think some of that may just be the counterculturalness of it. You have decided to focus on what Christmas is really about, and that is something that I think the majority of people miss, even among all the sentimental holiday movies and songs. God bless you this Christmas.

    • laura bruno lilly

      LuLu I do believe people will appreciate those personalized messages tucked away inside the standard Christmas card…I know I always tear open the envelope and search for more than just a signature inside the card!! Even though I enjoy the greetings regardless. 🙂
      This has been a special holiday season for both hubby and myself – filled with blessings and tender peaceful moments.
      It seems you’ve come a long way in these past few years – you should be proud (in the good sense of the word). I wish for you continued strength as you walk in your healing day-by-day & hand-in-hand with the Great Physician this coming New Year.

  3. Andy

    I’m a big believer that we should all resist the ‘pressure’ of this season and spend it in whatever way we feel is right for us. May this Christmas bring you all that you need.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Andrew. Especially for that poem you posted, it spoke to what you’re saying.

  4. Jennie Fitzkee

    Laura, what a delightful Christmas post! You speak so many things from your heart, all of which I both understand and relate to. I love my Charlie Brown tree! Now that the kids are grown and gone, having their own celebration with their young children (as it should be), my husband and I put out a few beloved yet sparse decorations. Tonight we, too, will watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”- our tradition to remind us how lucky we really are, even when things are tough. Merry Christmas to you and your husband. Time will slowly heal your heart. It just has it’s own time agenda.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Maybe our Charlie Brown trees speak more to our hearts than we realize…ya know?
      Buon’ Natale, Jennie.

  5. Lillian Batarseh

    Situation understood, Laura. May you find peace and a kernel of joy this Christmas season, “despite”.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Ah, Madame Lillian, as always a classy lady. Thank you for your kind wishes.
      I wish for you an exciting and fulfilling 2017.

  6. Martha

    Merry Christmas from Amsterdam, Laura! Your Charlie Brown Christmas tree sounds beautiful

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh my dear Martha! What a treat to hear from you all across the big blue ocean. You are such a free spirit – a gift to me all year long.
      BTW: One of the perks of that Charlie Brown Christmas tree is that I have no internal struggle with whether or not to dispose of it after the holidays! HA!
      Love and virtual hugs

  7. Janis

    Gotta love the Minions! Merry understated Christmas to you! That’s our choice this year too. Enjoy your cookies and the movie… they sound just perfect.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Understated is a good term, also.
      Now, if the Buena Vista Social Club had a Holiday Special you know we’d be there…and maybe even meet you in person! HA! 😀
      Merry Holidays, Janis.

  8. Linda W.

    I didn’t send out Christmas cards either this year. I’m opting for a low-key Christmas.
    You included one of my favorite Christmas carols. And the Minions video is fun as are most Minion videos. 🙂
    May the Lord blanket you with His peace this Christmas, Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Low-key is a good term, Linda. Sometimes those tidings of comfort and joy are more easily heard/felt in such an environment – a perk of opting for low-key. ‘Blanket blessings’ to you, too.
      BTW: I’m wondering how Kitty would fare if confronted with those Minions?! 😉

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