Posts Tagged With: national Christmas tree

blessings of love and light

We made our annual pilgrimage to the National Cathedral Monday to see the crèche exhibit.
I made a quick stop in Bishop’s garden on my way around the cathedral.
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It always seems to be cloudy when we go. I’ve looked back at four years of photos and the sky is gray in every single one.
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Doesn’t make it any less beautiful, but it sure would be nice if the sun would make an appearance once in a while.

I turned my attention to the cathedral. Much less scaffolding than in previous years. The repairs from the 2011 earthquake are coming to an end.
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Something stopped me in my tracks on the sidewalk towards the front of the cathedral.
What could it be?
Why robin birds, of course!
There were five of them flitting about the grass and sidewalk as we made our way around the building.
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I was so excited I could hardly stand myself! I spent quite a bit of time watching and photographing these little birds before I could tear myself away to go inside to see all the baby Jesuses.

Downstairs, I peeked in on my most beloved space, the chapel of Joseph of Arimathea.
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Then onto the nativities.
This one was made in Zimbabwe of jacaranda wood.
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I like that the figures are tall and lanky. I like that the shepard cradles the lamb in a way that mimics the way Mary holds her baby. I do so love nativities in which the momma holds her son.

Of course, there is something to be said of the baby bundled up in a basket.
This one was specifically made for the collection in Jamaica at the request of a Cathedral docent.
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I love that he sleeps with a little smile on his face. How many parents have watched our own babies sleep the same way?

This one is hand painted pottery from Turkey.
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I like that it’s just the Holy Family. I also love the traditional Ottoman style of the flowers and designs, not to mention the little rugs especially made for this nativity.

I remarked to YBW that I would only purchase a nativity if it was somehow unique or particularly beautiful. Well, this one sort of met both criteria.
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This gourd was specifically chosen then hand carved in Peru. I particularly love the stars on the back of the lid. (not pictured)

After going through the crèche exhibit, I found my way to the teeny chapel to say my prayers.
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I kneeled on the prayer bench and gathered myself before I began. After my conversation with God, I lit my candle in benediction. As the light grew brighter, my blessings reached far and wide to touch those for whom it was intended. My love and hope are overflowing.
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We left the cathedral and headed to the Ellipse to check out our National Christmas tree. I mentioned before that I love when Hanukkah and Christmas coincide. And I honestly can’t remember a time in my life that both the menorah and the tree were lighted at the same time.
Monday was the third night of Hanukkah.
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(Of course I was on the back side of the menorah.)

YBW wanted to look at all the state and territory trees, but I decided to stay in the inside circle around the big tree. All the trains were set up and running…so many little villages and trains…
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If you look closely, you can see the train circling the base of the tree.

My grinchy heart not only grew three sizes that day, it was filled with the love of ‘ten Grinches plus two’!
I’m waiting patiently for twelfth night. In the meantime, I’m still lighting menorah candles and saying my prayers each night between now and New Year’s Eve.
May the light of my candles bless and keep each and every one of all y’all.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

sometimes you have to make your own light

Christmas Eve at the Cathedral was magical!
We made a quick stop at the space window before going downstairs to see the nativities.
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Once downstairs, we kind of went out separate ways.
I spent a moment of prayer in St Joseph’s Chapel (My favorite space in the entire building.) before moving along to the creche exhibit.
YBW said he felt a bit jaded, that because we go each season, he feels as though he’s seen them all. I don’t feel jaded in the least. Though I do feel like these nativities were not as lovely as some we’ve seen in the past. Precious few moved me enough to photograph them.
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I especially liked this one from South Africa made of fabric and glass beads. No donkey and camel in this nativity, but the lion and zebra sure came to celebrate baby Jesus!

Thing 2 came to find me and asked if I’d lit my prayer candle yet. I hadn’t, so she took my hand an led me through the gorgeously colorful mosaics of the Resurrection Chapel to the Cathedral Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage. This is the teeniest little room with a spiral stone staircase, a few wooden chairs along the wall behind a small kneeling alter in front of the candle table.
I hugged her tightly and told her this was where I always lit my prayer candles. She nodded and whispered that she just knew it.
She had been there before she found me, I could see the freshly lit candle and sense her presence. She sat in the corner behind me and I kneeled for a moment before using her candle to light mine.
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God is in us. Always. There is no need to be in a house of worship to feel that connection. But in that moment in that tiny dark room I felt it more keenly than the way I carry God with me every day.
Perhaps it was being there with my baby. The one I always pray for in that particular room?

We left the Cathedral for the ellipse where the National Christmas tree was waiting for us.
Thing 2 and I drove past on our way home from the Nutcracker earlier that week. Honestly this tree has the prettiest lights I think I’ve seen in my entire life. But none of the trees were lighted this Christmas Eve afternoon. (Pourquoi pas?)
Thing 2, of course, was all about the trains. Thing 1 and I dug around for pennies and we took turns tossing them into baskets on the trains as they passed by. (We made more than we missed, go us!) Thing 2 mused what the change was used for. I teased that it was to pay the electric bill so the trees could be lit. Then she decided she would want to be one of the people who worked there with the trains. She could keep them running smoothly and gather up the change on the grass and hand it to all the small children standing along the fence so they could try their luck as the train cars went by. Thing 1 and I agreed that it would a great job for her.

Finally, we were tired and ready to head home. YBW got this shot of us walking together.
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(I’m on the left, Thing 1 in the middle, and Thing 2 on the right.)

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