December 22, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time



Only three sleeps until Christmas! I love this time of year – the snow, the lights, the smell of baking, the Christmas tree, my birthday, the Christmas movies, the music...  
While the voice of Andy Williams affirms on the radio that this is the most wonderful time of the year, my news feed on my phone is full of images of frightened children trying to escape from bombs, bodies of humans lying crushed on the ground in a Christmas market, a man shooting another man in a house of ART... The world is breaking my heart. This is the most wonderful and the most vulnerable time of the year right here. I cannot help but think of the millions and millions of people going through assorted suffering, despair and injustice as I sit comfortably, in my warm, decorated home, writing blissfully away. Sadness and joy are equally feeding my soul. And a strange sense of irresponsibility slowly nests into my consciousness if I choose to only share the wonderful side of my simple Christmas and overlook the news of sorrows in the world. I know this world of ours has never been perfect or sensible. But we, people, still make it increasingly divisive. We are easily destroying a healthy morality system and code of conduct that shows us how to separate right from wrong. We carelessly ignore the proven connection of the butterfly effect, that even the smallest of occurrences, such as the flutter of a butterfly's wings, can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world. We, people, still perform activities that are tremendously destructive toward nature and humanity.....
How to find holiness in the messiness of this confusing world? How to survive my tears through the heartbreaking agony of parents whose children are killed before their eyes? How to sustain belief in ideals and human progress when civic values, freedom and rights are threatened? How to deal with my anger and hopelessness?
The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that the only possible answer to all these questions has been given to me and repeated time after time, after time, in one form or another:

"And thought I have the gift of prophecy and understanding all mysteries and all knowledge,
and thought I have all faith so that I could remove mountains and have not love,
I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,
and  though I give my body to be burned and have not love,
it profith me nothing.
Love suffereth long and is kind.
Love envieth not.
Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doeth not behave itself unseemly,
Seeketh not her own.
Is not easily provoked.
Thinketh no evil.
Rejoiceth not in inequity, but rejoiceth in the truth.
Bareth all things.
Believeth all things.
Hopeth all things.
Endureth all things.
Love never fails.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things. But now abideth faith, hope, love... these three. But the greatest of these is LOVE."
                                                                                                                                                                    1 Corinthians 13

I know, the world does not need my opinion on everything. But the world, I believe, desperately needs my genuine empathy. My hope. My grace. My generosity. My acceptance. The world needs from me to do my job and to do it with passion. The world needs my contribution and accountability. My benevolence. My gratitude. My open heart. My love.  Most of all, the world needs my awareness and peaceful mind. No one can say it better than Etty Hillesum, the young Holocaust victim: "Living and dying, sorrow and joy, the blisters on my feet and the jasmine behind the house, the persecution, the unspeakable horrors – it is all as one in me, and I accept it all as one whole and begin to grasp it better of only for myself, without being able to explain to anyone else how it all hangs together... Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim larger areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and reflect it toward others. And more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world."
I wish we can each find a little more of that peace this Christmas, this most wonderful time of the year. I hope we can each find ways to connect with our better selfs and each other this Christmas, this wonderful time of the year. Whatever sadness, anger, or confusion reside in our souls, I hope we transform it together into openness, strength and determination to create a safer, tolerant and peaceful world. I hope, we can each slow down this Christmas, do less and feel more, practice compassion to all living beings and practice gratitude for all the things we have – a roof, heat, water, clothes, comfort food, lights, lovable people, healthy bodies, pets in our feet, a glass of hot wine in our hands, a blanket, a couch, a good book...


                                             Merry Christmas!





Fruitcake Rum Balls

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups ground almonds
6 tbsp icing sugar
1 cup vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (Mr.Christie's Nilla vanilla wafers)
2/4 cup chopped dried or glacé cherries
1/3 cup chopped candied fruits (pineapple, mango)
60 gr. marzipan, torn in small pieces
2/4 cup dark rum


Directions:

In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp of the ground almonds with icing sugar. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, stir together remaining ground almonds, the cookie crumbs, cherries, mixed candied fruits and marzipan. Stir in rum; press into dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm enough to roll out, about 15 minutes.
Roll by rounding 1 tsp into balls. Arrange on waxed baking sheet; refrigerate until firm. Roll balls in icing sugar mixture.



Sharing with  Home Sweet Home

9 comments:

  1. such beautiful photos! Love that wreath. True peace and true love can only be when I love thru Jesus and allow His peace to settle over me. Sounds simple enough.... what daily struggle and challenge! :)

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  2. Amen. Your beautiful words and wonderful photos touch my spirit and add joy to our world. Thank you! Wishing you love this Christmas...xo

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  3. This is so beautiful, Sylvia...I had to read it twice and some parts three times. I identify with your thoughts, you put many of mine into words so honestly and much better than I could have.

    Sending warm wishes and prayers to match yours for a more peaceful and healthy New Year for all.

    Jane x

    P.S. I used the last card I had just recently. Wondering if you made any more up, if not for Christmas but for ant sort of occasion? They are so beautiful and I love to have them on hand. I'd happy to purchase a nice bunch!

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  4. Beautiful as always Sylvia! Merry Christmas! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home! Happy New Year!

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  5. I will feature this tomorrow at Home Sweet Home!

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  6. Thank you for this beautiful message, Sylvia. It touched my heart. Your wonderful photos are delicious in every way.

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  7. Your photos are gorgeous, and the edibles look delicious! I also love this time of year! Happy New Year. :)

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  8. Merry "belated" Christmas and thank you for you wonderful blog! And I think the Christian rock group Casting Crowns has one that uses 1 Cor. 13 in their song...I know I heard it several times on the radio this past Christmas. And I might try the rum balls this weekend, too. Have a blessed day.

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