A trunk

December 14, 2014

“…the master of the household…brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old….” Matthew 13:52

This is just the way I feel when I brave the cold of the attic and begin to haul down the Christmas decorations. There are the ceramics that came from my mother-in-law, the little houses that light up that my boys always thought were magical. Maybe that is where Santa’s elves came to stay?  In another box are the serving platters with holly that came from my mother’s house. Over here are several boxes that hold my collection of St. Nicholas statues — each looking like a bishop.

They tell the stories of the past 30 years of collecting, and being found in small gift shops in Ocean City, at craft fairs, or having come as gifts from friends. Then there are the “mystery” boxes that I never quite get around to labeling, holding a host of ornaments, dishes and decorations that I have used over the years.

Even with this treasure trove, I still want to find some new treasures each year. I am more selective these days, concentrating on those that I hope will eventually be enjoyed by my children and grandchildren yet unborn.

This annual ritual of unpacking unwraps more than the objects. Through the layers of tissue and newspaper, under the flaps of boxes, behind the window of plastic bins are the pleasure of memory and the path of recollection. Christmas is a time of re-collecting the deepest and most important ideas of human existence – sharing, giving, recognizing, cherishing – all elements that bind us together in a common life.

May God also help me unpack and recognize the treasures in my deepest self, so that I might treasure all the gifts of this holy season.

The Rev. Anne O. Weatherholt is the rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Lappans.

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