So many symbols surround us this time of year, so many different little things that mean 'Christmas' to us as individuals. Those of us who love the sights, scents and sounds of Christmas have favorite songs that lift our spirits. Mine is 'Away In A Manger', although I dearly love many more. I have to say also that the sound of sleighbells on my horse when she's driven, well, there's just no other sound in the world quite as stirring!
Did you know that sleighbells were invented right here in the U.S.A. to make winter travel safer? The reason behind the need for sleighbells was simple: a horse drawn sleigh moves silently across snow-packed roads and back in the 'olden' days (19th century), the traffic was in fact brisk, busy and dangerous. Accidents were common. So, good old American ingenuity addressed the need and the popularity of sleighbells traveled worldwide. Most sleighbells were brass and the nicer, more expensive bells were tuned, rather like wind chimes. They made a melodious chiming song as they kept time with the movement of the horse ... plus the oncoming drivers could hear you coming!
There are so many things that delight our senses at Christmastime, all of which point the way to a quiet little stable long ago. I hope you enjoy every one of them, large and small alike and that you also see the deeper meaning of this festive time of year. Me? I'm getting together with girlfriends tonight to make pomanders - oranges studded with cloves. I'll then nestle half a dozen of them in a birch basket of evergreens, pinecones, dried leaves and twigs. However you put on your merry, Enjoy! Peace and goodwill to you ... may you find it and make some too.
"His mother, Mary of Nazareth,
Sat watching beside his place of rest,
Watching the even flow of his breath,
For the joy of life and the terror of death,
Were mingled together in her breast."
From "The Three Kings"
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow