Decorating the Christmas Wreath

Saint Jerome’s translation of the Gospel of Saint Luke, Chapter 2, verse 14 is a direct translation from the original Greek: Gloria in altissimus Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.

The King James Bible would later translate this as Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men, not as precise a translation as Saint Jerome’s, and with a whole other meaning; those Jewish angels in King James are wishing peace to everybody not only to those who deserve it. Perhaps the Protestants in England, recently excommunicated, had an urge to be a little more expansive at the time.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

When Judy Garland sang Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas in 1944, the world was at war. American soldiers listened in the Pacific and Europe thinking of the place where love was, where peace was: home. It’s a poignant song. Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder as is the word of God. Peace to men of good will. Good will toward men.

Decorating the Christmas Wreath

I put a wreath in my window for all who might look up. Putting on the ornaments is always nostalgic, sweet and bittersweet remembering friends and lovers, the past present. I watch the lights blink and between sips of coffee rearrange some ornaments. Cachito, my cat, has advice and interest in where certain ones should dangle and after some discussion and compromise we agree that everything is where it should be, not one thing out of place, forced or obvious, but complementary and melodious as a choir of angels. Ahhhh decorating! A little silver teddy bear with a green and red scarf just sent from John and Brenda is near the top. Teddy, optimistic and a surprise, is a welcome addition and all the other ornaments are happy to have him. The wreath lights twinkle among the pine cones, little bunny, Christ Child, candy cane, camel and elephant, one long time lover’s white porcelain unicorn with a golden horn, a plaster crocodile dressed up like Santa Claus with a sack of toys over one shoulder missing an arm, an angel blowing a trumpet, a funny curled snake with big dots, a large yellow star with a red border stripe painted by Paul Divone, and a blue transparent heart that holds the shimmering light. Outside it’s snowing. The World Trade Center can’t be seen far off, although the holiday lights in La Plaza are visible twinkling below through the flurry. La Plaza has made it through another year. Will we see the daffodils bloom in March, the tulips in April? Snow’s on all the limbs and ledges. I open the window and eat a little, not knowing how impure it is, but I figure I breathe the air, so what? Cachito looks out and, though a little curious, doesn’t like the snow—it’s wet and cold. He prefers to lap the ball melting in my palm when the window’s closed. Outside in the heavens it thunders. Inside with Cachito is warm.

from NY Chronicles, December, 2000


Giotto Worship of the Magi

Painting by Giotto Di Bondone from Scenes of the Life of Christ, Scene della vita di Cristo (1304 – 06)


  1. Every once in a while, your attention is drawn to something that suddenly lifts your spirits … beautiful images, soothing words or soul steering music. And when the three combine, spirits don’t just lift – they soar.

    A friend of mine shared your post on my FB page today …it brought “param-ananda” – delight and joy into my solitary evening in remote West Africa….

  2. Melanie Ann Schaeffer

    I am drawn to the photo of the wreath. Most of us are stingy when we decorate a wreath. Not too reflective.

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