Every year for Christmas, my mother-in-law buys me the current Susan Winget Bountiful Blessings calendar from Lang, and I love it. Sometimes, when the year is up, I cut out all of Winget’s little painted birds and the scripture quotes from the calendar artwork and collage them into my own masterpiece. I love the bits of whimsy she paints and often see my own little garden in her vignettes.
After the holiday, when the Christmas cards have lost their luster and that last bit of glitter has been daubed away from the counter grout, I find a quiet corner and sit with the old year and the new to transfer all my important dates from one to the other. Yesterday, the second Sunday of Christmas on the church calendar, was just the day. To enhance the mood, I first filled my bird feeders outside the kitchen window. Then I sat at the table in a dapple of sun and let my pen be the bridge between the past and the future.
As I flipped through the months of 2015, reliving each appointment and special occasion, I noticed the snowbirds pecking around underneath the feeder. A black-capped chickadee flitted in and out of my vision, giving his bright chicka-dee-dee-dee to announce his comings and goings. I revisited wedding anniversaries and baptismal anniversaries and the birthday of Teddy’s preschool playmate. Some names had numbers written beside them in parenthesis: Olivia (15); and I marveled at how quickly the years have gone. Hadn’t I just penned her birth onto my calendar? I whispered the names of nieces and long-silent friends and family members whose birthdates I am not allowed to acknowledge because of their religious beliefs. I did. I acknowledged them. I celebrated them. I gave thanks for their births and their lives.
As I sat with my pen, flipping pages on two calendars, pouring over days past and days to come, my husband walked in the kitchen. “If only you had some electronic device that had a calendar on it so you could keep track of those things. And even get reminders,” he teased.
I do use the calendar on my phone quite a bit. But it can never replace this sacred New Year’s ritual. This practice has become a way of sanctifying time—of remembering and letting go, of praying into the newest year.
Do you still use a wall calendar?
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