To me, Christmas is a time of creativity. It always has been. From my earliest memories, Momma was always cooking, baking, gifting, sewing, painting, and decorating. She loved the holidays.
Momma's nativity sets, for example, took countless hours of hard, detailed work from start to finish. She even poured the ceramics herself, and had them fired. Then there was the basecoat (which we kiddies got to help with--how hard can it be to paint something all one color? (turns out it's rather tricky, to get it not-lumpy and goopy)), which was sealed, then the antiquing, sealing, colored antiquing, more sealing, and finally, the painted details, which Momma mostly did.
It was just stunning to see her finished sets arranged just so at the parish holiday bazaar. I wonder how many of her sets are scattered through our home town--how many lovely pieces of Love and talent and dedication adorn the homes of our friends at Christmastime.
And still, nothing puts me more in a Christmas mood than getting my full box of paints and paint brushes out and, stroke by stroke, bringing clay or ceramic pieces to life.
Isn't that what God does with us in our lives? Isn't that why he came to us as a baby so many years ago, in Bethlehem? [like a violet in the snow]
Of course, the only thing that brings Christmas memories home more so than painting is the strong smell of polyurethane antiquing or clear spray paint in cold weather. But it's still all about the creating, the process, the steps of making pretty things full of Love...
and that's just what I like to do this time of year.