Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas


Henryk Hector Siemiradzki Christ in the house of Mary and Martha.


Its Christmas eve. I took my family to evening service at an old wooden church atop a hill in a tiny New England village. The simple church was painted white except for some classical trompe work behind the altar and on the ceiling. From the middle of the ceiling hung a big brass candelabra. The church was from the eighteen fifties and looked pretty much as it must have the day it was built. We sang the old carols, Angels we have heard on high, Joy to the world
and Hark the herald Angels sing. There were perhaps fifty of us in the church, since we were out in the countryside the church was filled with families and working people.

At the end of the service we were each given a lit candle and after singing a last hymn we processed out the big open doors of the church into the snowy darkness of a village where the sky was full of a million stars, that never show in the city. The snow was crunching under our feet as we walked to our car and called goodnight to our friends.

Tomorrow morning we will open the presents we have wrapped and placed under the tree, our kids are college age now, so we no longer have little children, wide eyed and in footed pajamas running down the stairs to see the tree with packages piled high around and stretching out from its base. But this is nice too. It is not less.

I feel like I have again run another lap. For me the year seems to end on Christmas eve, not New years. We have dinner with our oldest friends, our children and their friends who we have watched grow up. My eldest girl says its time to watch Its a Beautiful Life and that is an attractive bowl of shrimp shes got there. That movie makes me cry every year. I pretend it doesn't.

Merry Christmas to you and God Bless

24 comments:

billspaintingmn said...

We finished up the evening later than years prior, Chritmas eve is the time we gather the family.
Tomarrow(Christmas day) the kids
will be hosting there celebrations
at there homes.
I played santa for my 2 grandkids,
and my granddaughter fell asleep next to me as the family talked & laughed and reminisced.
This year was different as the kids asked for sentimental gifts.
So it was a Christmas of times
past. The kids,(in there mid to upper 20's) got things my wife had
saved through the years from there
childhood.
I was surprized at some of the things they remembered. Surprized
how some of the "little" things were "grand" to them.
Family time is precious, we enjoy
our times together.
God has blessed us.
May God bless you all.
"Merry Christmas"

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bill:
I enjoyed reading about your family Christmas. Merry Christmas to you.
................Stape

jeff f said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Capra' It's a Wonderful Life is the "Christmas" movie. Zuzu's petals...

I heard some film critic talking about why that film works, something about how Capra new how to build the story and lead us to that wonderful ending that seems like it popped right out of Rockwell painting. It's sentimental and yet it's not over the top with it.

jeff f said...

woops I meant knew how to build the story.

Tim said...

Nice Stape! We went to our church, only it was built in the 1400´s and is HUGE for such a tiny village. Sweden has tons of very interesting churches, I am actually toying with the idea of going on a road trip and painting them after next summer.

I too made my debut as Santa, my family whipping my 2 year old nephew in to a frenzy (is that him, is he out there, what was that?) all day long, and then I did a shtick, walking past, pretending not to now where I was (even brought out a map under the streetlight!) then we had little Collin light some candles on the porch and I came round the other way! HAHA! Still a bit skeptical to sit on Santas lap though! nice thing was that this was the first time I connected with him, so It was an awesome Christmas. I also got a nice Sargent book and Richard Schmids new landscape book.
Get ready 2010, Im blowing you out of the water!

Merry Christmas everyone, and a special thanks to you Stape for enriching my life this year with his awesome blog and art! Ive gained so much from it, and discovered the new england painters Id never heard of.

You the man!

bobm said...

Merry Christmas Stape,May you and yours have a great day! Thank you for all the thoughts shared with us over the last year.You have a talent in taking some dry subjects and adding enough spice to make it interesting.I have learned allot and look forward to the new year's posts

Simone said...

Since everybody is talking Christmas...It's shorts and long sleeve tee-shirt weather here. Supposed to rain today. We went to our neighborhood Catholic church for Mass last night. Saw all of our closest friends and got to hug them all. We have no children so we came home and had a quiet lobster dinner. Flew Simon and George in from Maine and gave them a nice warm bath before we ate them! My wife gave me an old book of black and white photos depicting Manhattan harbor scenes. Very cool!

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Merry Christmas, Stape, and God bless you all!

Bob Carter said...

Stape-
My Christmas Eve was similar to yours. I sing in the choir at First Church in Weymouth (UCC), the oldest continuous congregation in the US (gathered in 1623). The building itself is much newer, having been built in the 1830s. I love our traditional New England steepled white churches, especially at Christmas time.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.
-Bob

Gregory Becker said...

Merry Christmas Stape. I would love to know a technique for painting circles like the ones in the halos. If that was by hand alone then that is one skilled hand and eye

JAMES A. COOK said...

Merry Christmas STAPE to you and your family. God bless you all.
Have a very happy new year.

JAMES

twisterdudes said...

Merry Christmas from "The Land of Boz, Stapleton and Kathleen. We wish you dreams of the past, the present, and the future. For it is our dreams that keep us alive!
We have our first white Christmas since '02. We(my husband and I)stayed at home this year because of the weather. You don't get 12" of snow in my neck of the woods every year. May God bless you and yours.
barbara b. "land of boz"

Stapleton Kearns said...

Jeff:
Merry Christmas
.................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Tim:
Thank you so much for the compliments. I need that Schmid book myself!
........................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bob:
Thank you.
...........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Simone:
Merry Christmas. Now remember you can't leave those lobster bodies in the kitchen trash though. They have to go to the dump immediately.
..........................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Michael:
Thank you , Merry Christmas
......................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bob:
Merry Christmas too you down there on the Cape.
.............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Gregory,
The trick is to lat the lid to a mayonaise jar down and then go around it with ............
.........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

James:
Merry Christmas to you too.
................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

TwisterD;
Merry Christmas. Enjoy your snow.
.............Stape

Deborah Paris said...

We even had a little snow down here in NE TX- and a merry little Christmas too. Good cheer and also remembrances of Christmas' past and those no longer with us (including both my parents) Particularly thinking of my dad who on Christmas Eve 65 years ago was hunkered down in a foxhole at the Siege of Bastogne- that always helps put things in perspective and makes me thankful for God's blessings!

Deborah Paris said...

Pushed the button too soon- so glad to have made your acquaintance this year, Stape. Thanks for your great humor, terrific insights and generous spirit.

Deborah Flowers said...

Just discovered your journal when searching for 'pictorial design'...
You suggested going back to the beginning... I hope I've done that, I think I went back as far as November 07?
I am contemplating my first ever painting... I'm a Landscape photographer.
I look forward to reading more.