Written by Sister Jan Kilian, this blog will give an understanding of what it’s like to be Franciscan. Living out the spirit of Saint Francis, we see all God’s creation as brother and sister. We, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, are committed to building relationships and community, ministering wherever there is greatest need, promoting justice and healing Mother Earth’s wounds. My writings will give a glimpse of the compassion, spirituality, interconnectedness and goodness of living Franciscan.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Garden

by Sister Jan Kilian

This is the Christmas of snow storms in Minnesota. Guests can’t leave or come until the French Lake township crew plows our road. Sister Carol is out on the tractor blowing a path through our driveway. Sister Paula is sledding down a hill. The view outside is exceptionally lovely with the snow. Mother Nature has extravagantly arranged tall grasses and the remains of our summer’s garden to please anyone’s artistic eye.

This storm gives me extra sit-still time and I used some of it to wonder about our array of decorations-- why do we decorate at Christmas and who are the decorations for? We put up:

• outdoor lights for neighbors who pass by;
• bows and greens on the fence for family and friends who stop in;
• big red bows on sunflower canes in the garden for the fun of it;

• a fireside crèche of homemade angels, stable, and holy family for us to remember why we celebrate Christmas.

For whatever reasons we decorate, I credit the experience of decorations for bringing up memories of Christmases past. Visions of decorations from my childhood continue to thread their way through the years and help to make a continuity of my life. As I muse over my many years of trimming trees with people I’ve lived with, I tend to remember the joy of it all. I feel a deepening gratitude for my life. The gift of years and the mystery of memory work together to highlight the best of experiences and to help me forget what wasn’t so great. Daniel Gilbert talks about this in his book, Stumbling on Happiness. Some things about decorating for holidays were really not much fun. But even a dead garden, looks good with a bow on it.


breadgirl said...

Hello Sr Jan

This is a lovely post. I enjoyed it very much. Thank you and God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Christmas Garden
My name is Lacy and you will recognize me as the Collie who greets guests at Clare's Well. If you don't mind (and even if you do) I will be posting my view of this blog from a four-legged point of view from time to time. Any Franciscan Living needs to be inclusive of us; St Francis was so mindful of ALL of God's creatures For now, I'm just happy you included the garden in your writing. I spent so much time there this summer with the volunteers and the sisters. On these cold days I like to remember how it was to lie out there on the earth in the sun.