Put Another Log on the Fire

My newspaper column for this week:

Ten days before Christmas. By the time you read this, the timeline will have shifted. Sounds ominous doesn’t it? Remember when we were kids and ten days was a lifetime, and Christmas seemed to take its jolly time to get here? I read an explanation the other day about why as we get older things seem to move faster—something about events no longer being new to us so we experience them at a faster pace. I am sure that explanation makes sense to someone somewhere, but it did not really resonate with me.

I do find that different things have become more important to me over the years. Things I would have glossed over or not paid any particular attention to when I was younger. As I get older, I may not get wiser, but I do find myself being more reflective and more thankful for the present. Sound like I have taken one too many bites from Oprah’s gingerbread, or delved too deeply into Deepak Chopra’s philosophy, or heaven forbid, taken a page out of Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now? (I find all of his books to be dense, or maybe I am the one who is dense.)

Over the weekend I was lucky enough to attend two small parties—one with my Writers’ Group, and another with some friends whom I have known since high school. The warmth of being surrounded by good friends (with good food in our bellies topped up with a little wine) was wonderful, but the loveliness of the moments spent with friends was brought to the fore even more vividly by a suggestion I read this morning in my search for a topic for this column. I turned to a book that my husband gave me over a decade ago called “The Little Book of Christmas Joys” and recognized in number 303 a truth that had been borne out by my experience over the weekend.

My little book of joys suggested in number 303 that “When you have friends over and there’s Christmas magic in the air, don’t let the evening end early. Throw another log on the fire.” In both instances, the hosts of the evening “threw another log on the fire”, if not literally, then figuratively. I stayed up long past my bedtime listening to shared stories and taking part in something that needed no screen, either computer or television or phone, to keep me entertained. The art of conversation and conviviality is not lost—and the closeness of friendship shared is one of the most potent elements in the magic of Christmas.

On Saturday I was fortunate to share some tea with a couple of friends at Tim Horton’s. The coffee shop was filled to the brim as it so often is. Our peals of laughter brought us to the attention of other patrons, who I am sure wondered if we had brought a flask to spice up our hot drinks. We had not—we were just enjoying being in each other’s presence. We joked, occasionally elbow jostled, and left on a higher note than the one we had come in on.

Life is full of these moments. My dream for Christmas Day is that I be surrounded by family and friends and that the warmth of the day envelope us all. But I have learned to appreciate the random moments when my family is just sitting around watching a movie, or sharing a meal and laughing together. Or those moments when you realize that the friends that surround you are the most important thing—and that sharing our lives together is what life is all about.

I have used the word “share” many times throughout this column—and though I could have called on my thesaurus to find a few derivatives of the word I did not—as there is no greater word than share. We share our lives and we are richer; we share our food and drink and we are sustained; we share our laughter and we reach that ultimate goal: happiness.

This Christmas season I am counting my blessings. And the blessing that wins out over everything else is the people in my life. They help me keep what little is left of my sanity; they bring joy to my life; they are the magic of Christmas.

Am I getting sloppily sentimental? Perhaps. But is there a better time of year to realize that sloppy sentimentality? I think not. So put another log on the fire, even if you do not have a fireplace.

What is one of your Christmas blessings?

Published in: on December 16, 2014 at 12:47 am  Comments (23)  
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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What an absolutely beautiful post, Lou. I think this may be my favorite of yours. My Christmas blessing? You’ve described it perfectly as mine is love, laughter, home, family, friends, health and as you’ve so eloquently written sharing it all. Sharing those blessings because when we do, it has such a ripple effect. As this post does.

    Merry Christmas my friend.

    • Merry Christmas Brigitte–you always lighten my load with your kind comments–you are one of my blessings

      • And you, mine dear.

  2. I personally identify with sloppy sentimentality … right along with you.. and I love the Christmas seasons for all the reasons… Diane

    • we have so much in common Diane–I love Christmas too but particularly for the warmth of friends and family and my family of bloggers

      • Again. Lou Ann… I agree ! Diane

  3. Beautiful Lou! One of my blessings is you, sis.

  4. How blessed are we that we even connected in this massive invisible cyberworld? That friendship can be defined in new and meaningful ways that still allow its gifts to be cherished and felt deeply? I wish your season is filled to the brim with extra logs on the fire, laughter, stories and the closeness that comes from being surrounded by love.

    • It is wonderful that we connected–it makes me feel that winning the lottery is not impossible cause I have won the lottery of friendship–I am wishing you a lovely holiday season–I was so inspired and touched by your last post Mimi

      • ❤ One of these days, we're going to sit down in 'real life' and have a conversation that will probably last hours…

      • I am looking so forward to it…………..

  5. What a warm glow emanating from your wonderful words, LouAnn. One is truly blessed to have these gifts in life. Friends, family and love keeps us all going. Cheers!

    • so glad you enjoyed it–I am so happy to count you as one of my “warm” friends

  6. Sloppily sentimental is an awesome way to be my friend :). As my boys get older, I realize that our Christmas mornings together may only last a few more years, so this year one of my Christmas blessings is that for the first time ever the four of us are spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day by ourselves – no travelling or entertaining until after Christmas this year. I am going to cherish every moment!

    • that is just the way we should treat these moments–cherish them–who knew kids would grow up so fast?

      • When they were little they said they would stay with me forever…..

  7. I’m always a sucker for sentimentality, sloppy or otherwise, so bring it on full steam ahead! This may sound terribly cliche but after all the awful news of natural disasters, wars, gun attacks, car crashes, disease (the list could go on forever), I feel blessed just to be alive and to also have my family and friends with me. That, and also retaining a sense of humor. I feel blessed to know you and doubly blessed that we find the same non-funny things funny. 🙂

    • I can always depend on you–you seem so much like my younger self (which is still my self today). I feel blessed in the same ways you do–maybe we should quit following the news (unlikely I know)

      I feel blessed to know you too…..and I am glad to share your sense of humour

  8. You are definitely in the Christmas spirit and spreading your message of sharing. I love this blog about friends and family and prolonging the nights of joy and laughter. It’s what life should be all about. 🙂

  9. LouAnn, you share a magical gift all year long. Happy holidays!

  10. Reblogged this on Sherrie's Scriptorium and commented:
    This beautiful post says exactly what I feel this holiday season. Please enjoy.

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