Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Images of Christmas - Capturing the Magic

Merry Christmas!
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16

The nativity wall hanging on the left is a treasure of mine. I found it in an antique store in 2008, in Trondheim, Norway. I noticed that needlepoint wall hangings like this were quite common in the homes of families I visited. Does anyone else go antiquing when they travel? I found this to be most rewarding. You learn so much about area culture and how people live.  

So how is your Christmas celebration going?

Vince and I enjoyed a brief holiday in Spokane, Washington in early December. We spent a couple nights in a very nice hotel (The Oxford) and met up with two dear friends. We dined in the hotel's warm restaurant, swam in the pool, sat in the hot tub, walked through a nearby park, and area stores, drank coffee, and talked and talked. We had a wonderful time!

Spokane's scenery in general was a bit disappointing, not as festive as I had expected. Perhaps Dec 4th was too early for Christmas decorations, but we also noticed that the downtown and mall merchants had cut back a lot on Christmas decorations. Some chose not to decorate at all. I do not know whether it was an economic decision or simply because they had chosen not to acknowledge the holiday. I do not believe this is unique to Spokane, but a trend in other cities as well. Have you noticed the same? More and more people are buying gifts on line. Perhaps our local merchants are more stressed than we realize.

Could it be too that merchants are fed up with losing the true meaning of Christmas, the Christian celebration of Christ's birth? It really does not seem likely, not likely at all. Let's face it, the commercial takeover of Christmas happened a long time ago.

Still, and here  is where the nostalgic side of me takes over and puts on rose-colored glasses, I sometimes yearn for those animated storefronts with all the working parts, the ones I remember from my youth growing up in Tacoma, Washington. I wish I had pictures. Perhaps you remember them too.....Santa's busy workshop, those sweet manger scenes, snowy mountain landscapes, etc., and Christmas music everywhere. From a child's perspective, it did not feel commercial at all, just magical.

So my goal became to capture some of the magic, and maybe I did after all. Take a look. What do you think?

A magical view from our room  

Riverfront Park: Structure in back is from Spokane's
1974 Expo. There is a nice IMAX theater now.
Riverfront Park: on Spokane River. Historical clock tower on right.

Riverfront Park: Clock Tower was first constructed in 1902 as part of the
Great Northern Railroad depot. The rest of the depot was later torn down to
make way for the 1974 Expo. The Clock Tower is still wound every week by hand.

Riverfront Park bridge on right
Riverfront Park Carousel
Background not all that great, but good of Vince and me

Back at home I began decorating the house. No (real) Christmas tree this year or outside decorations, but I did manage to create a little magic.

Santa: "He's making a list, and checking it twice,
Gonna find out who's naughty or nice...."

The Carolers: "Oh come all ye faithful...."


  1. I really enjoyed these pictures--thanks for sharing. My neighborhood has quite a lot of lovely decorations and I put up some too, because my kids love them so much. Despite the commercialization of Christmas, I think the decorations make it one of the loveliest times of the year.

    1. I do enjoy the decorations a lot, but I try not to let them dominate. Maybe next year we will light up the exterior, maybe not. I do not want to forget the real meaning of Christmas.
      I'm so glad you stopped by, Colleen. This is also a time of year when families draw closer together to share their love, and I know you will. Make a memory with your kids that will last a lifetime :)

  2. So many places here have gone a "politically correct" stance of not observing/encouraging Christmas. Even in blog land, it's like people have no right to be Christian. O find that disturbing. I can understand someone not choosing to believe, but why "slam" those who do? It's my blog, why can't I post about Christmas without snide remarks? I've never told or forced anyone to chose as I've chosen. I don't think that works at all. Strangely, the only kind of Christmas accepted seems to be Santa Claus. I know we can thank commercialism for a great deal of it, but I also question churches that perpetuate the same attitude. The choice there, is a two-three hour Santa party with treats, food, loud music versus an hour quiet sanctuary setting, lighted candles, and almost morbid detachment. The secular has surpassed the Messiah in celebratory activities.

    I'm look at these things and pray I rise above a negative attitude. I pray for those who want to dampen what I know to be true. I think everyone is eventually faced with a decision, for or against Christ. "The fool says in his heart, there is no God." I don't preach but allow the Creator to call whom He will. He knows hearts, I do not.

    I have a lovely wall-hanging my Mom did one year. It simply states, "Noel". She passed away 17 years ago, so it means a lot to still have it. Consignment shops are fascinating and I often find a bargain.

    I enjoyed your photos and I'm glad you have a wonderful trip. May your holiday be blessed and filled with love. Merry Christmas

    1. I find it disturbing you have had snide remarks regarding your faith. I have found the blog community to be very cordial (or at least non-conversational) in that regard. My blog is not a Christian blog necessarily, meaning faith and Christianity are not my focus, but I'm not afraid to say I am a Christian if the subject comes up. I choose not to stir up the pot of religious differences. From my experience in the non-blog world it never does much good, as I'm clearly not a gifted evangelist. I find that my life is my best witness, but we must listen to God's voice too. Sometimes the calling is different and we may never know our full impact on others.
      I pray that you can rise above a negative attitude, which can be hard sometimes. I was just reading in Psalm 10 about those who say, "there is no God." It felt so modern to me, so applicable to today. I read it three times. Gave me the shivers. Many churches still do the lighted candles on Christmas eve. Mine does, and it really helps me refocus.
      Thanks for commenting, Dixie. I hope you have a wonderful time with your family this holiday. Merry Christmas!

  3. Hi Sharon .. lovely views of Spokane and you two ... as you say a good one. That's great you've found your decorations and been able to spruce your new home up with Christmas cheer ... lovely ... cheers and have a lovely few days as 2014 rolls to a close .. Hilary

  4. Thank you, Hilary! I'm gearing up for 2015 and planning on a more productive year. Hard to believe it is finally here. I hope you have a wonderful start to the new year. You have been a good friend to keep coming back to see me when my blog schedule has been sporadic at best!


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