|Garden Holly 2010|
|Sprig Scarf from Queen Anne's Lace|
I planted two Holly bushes years ago in the garden - you need two bushes - a prince & princess to grow the berries - and the bringing of the Holly into the house each year, to me, is magical. To have in the middle of winter, when everything else is dark and dormant, a plant as bright and lively as the holly to pick sprigs from (or from which to pick sprigs) is amazing. We have also managed to grow, with a lot of struggle, Ivy.
Ivy now creeps across my bedroom window. On icy days, it is still green and crisp, the presence of eternal Spring. Holly and Ivy both symbolize fidelity, harmony, and hospitality.
The last of the sacred sprigs is mistletoe - revered by the Druids as a symbol of life and fertility - well that's what follows a lot of kissing under it, I guess :)
So tonight, when Christians celebrate again the presence of God among us, we are reminded that the spirit of life and that which is truly holy, resides in simple things, a branch of this, a sprig of that - a lamb, a donkey - common people, labourers. There is dignity in work and joy in creating. There is also a renewed respect for poverty, sacrifice and the ascetic life, because, we know that the real riches in this world, knowledge, understanding and compassion are not material; they are learned from experience and brushes with the divine - Merry Christmas!