Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Thrill of Hope

A Thrill of Hope
Sometimes it arrives early.  A momentary frisson that startles our senses on an otherwise insignificant November morning.  We close our eyes to take it in just as it evaporates, leaving behind a faded palette of ice grey and green.   Perhaps we feel it  passing by like a memory, nonchalantly drifting along on the notes of an old familiar song. Instinctively, our soul reaches out, but it’s suddenly gone, disappeared like a vapor of snow mist.  A distant trill of sleigh bells, a certain shade of red.  We never know when a hint of it will come rushing back, only to quickly ebb before we can claim all the magic it offers.  But still, we recognize.  Still we remember the spirit of Christmas.

Every Christmas was a fantasy when we were children.  We never gave a thought to Christmas Spirit, never wondered when, or if, it would come upon us.  Santa Claus. Father Christmas.  The Baby in the manger.  Sugar cookies with scarlet sprinkles - carols, presents, velvet dresses.  Each individual element of the holiday season was tangible enchantment and stirred all together, they created a magical spell of goodness and hope that we we never questioned.  It was ever trustworthy, never mercurial; we knew it would come as surely as we knew the calendar pages would turn, filling our hearts and flooding our minds with a warmth unmatched throughout the rest of the year.

But adulthood brings, and occasionally steals, many things.  We have more responsibility and less innocence.  We know where the presents are hidden for we are the ones who hid them.  Sometimes in the flurry of Christmas cards and cookie dough, we suddenly stop and remember that old feeling of childhood.  Will it come to us again this year?  What if the whole of the season slips past without it?  What if Christmas becomes just another series of December tasks to complete, mere items on an albeit festive list of chores?  We might despair at the thought, if only we had the time.

But then one night we find ourselves sitting in a candlelit, choir-filled chapel and just as a little girl struggles to hit the highest note in O Holy Night, we feel it.  Almost casually, like a whisper, it returns as ever before.  The old wonderment, the familiar good will.  The thrill of hope that is the gift of Christmas.  We close our eyes and remember its sweetness.  We reach for the hand of our loved one sitting beside us as we recall anew the reason for all the colour and the light, the presents and the love.   

The fantasy of a child’s Christmas is not lost to us as adults.  Calmer perhaps, and more serene, it floats toward us on the breezes of memory.  We never take it for granted now. Through the long lenses of our lives, we see it as the time of ultimate good that brings beauty to a weary world. 
And so we tie lavish bows.  We hang beribboned wreaths.  
We sing along with the carolers when they knock upon our door.
We wish for no other Christmas than the one at our table
 and we feel its presence like a candle flame in the darkest depths of our soul.

If it were in my power, I would give one gift to each of you.  
That sweet thrill of hope that is Christmas.
May you feel it again this year.

Last shipping date before Christmas for "From The House of Edward"
 is December 15th!
Get yours HERE now!


  1. Beautiful sentiments of the spirit of Christmas, Pamela..oh, how I'd love to be singing carols in the church you show here...
    Wishing you and a very Happy Christmas.

  2. The 'spirit' of Christmas... that is everything that matters... Lovely writing as ever Pamela... xv

  3. This was so beautifully written Pamela, it made me cry actually.
    Yes, we are the ones who hide the gifts now....time moves on doesn't it. But there is always Christmas spirit....

    That image of the tree in the church is stunning.

    So glad that I read this today....merry Christmas to you.
    Simone XX

  4. Pamela you have enchanted me with this post and I am so very happy to have read it and that it is shared in our BIO posts!...

    Just beautiful...

    Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds

  5. This brought tears to my was a beautiful sentiment about such a beautiful and magical holiday. The part about reaching for the hand of a loved one reminds me that is all the gift I need....the love of those I care about. Happy holidays to you!

  6. Thanks, Pamela, for capturing what I find in the Christmas season. I think some of the misery for people is trying to find those childhood feelings and hoping to live in the wonders of the season like in the movies. It is a fleeting and ephemeral feeling, but such a special one. I hope we can all experience its return and the glimmer of a past or of a dream of Christmas.

  7. Beautiful...and no the fantasy of Christmas is definitely not lost on this adult.

  8. Pamela, this is so beautifully written, my friend. I enjoyed every word and share your sentiments entirely. I think Simone stated it perfectly. You see, you fit right in the "By Invitation Only" group and all of us welcome you for our December post. Cannot wait to receive your book! Merry Christmas, darling....

    (come over to my place and see that you're the 1st one linked into my post, scroll to the bottom & you will see all the other participants).

  9. It's still there - when the children's choir steps out, when the rising sun makes a sliver of silver over the water or a deer steps out of the woods and looks right into my eyes.
    Beautifully written.

  10. The spirit of Christmas is already abroad in our house Pamela. I love the whole season. Last week it was the smell of cakes baking, today it is the smell of mincemeat maturing. All the spicy, tempting smells start of the season for me and it just all goes on from there.

  11. It is when, at that very moment, when that high note is reached do I get the shiver. It comes from within, deep, deep within and then I know. Beautiful post.

  12. Thank you for this beautiful gift, Pamela. I accept it with gratitude and a happy heart. You have peeled away all of the layers of noise and glitter to reach the best of the holiday season.

    I have been so pleased to see your book featured by so many wonderful women of the blogosphere!!
    With warmest Wishes,
    Heather from Lost in Arles

  13. As soon as I saw the painting I felt my shoulders relax and then when I read "the thrill of hope" I immediately heard in my mind, "the weary world rejoices." Ah, I needed that! As always, heartfelt sentiments, gentle reminders from the House of Edward to be aware of all the wonders right before our eyes, and ears.

    I love good choral Christmas music, and when a child sings it's even better.

    I am so glad you love autumn and winter!

  14. I couldn't wait for it this year, so the tree went up the day after the Turkey left. Thank you for the reminders in your writing for all that I love of Christmastime!

  15. Such a nice reminder for me, stop and breath in the beauty of the season, then maybe it seem to be like work.

  16. Lovely Pamela, as always. The magic of Christmas when I was young always struck my heart when going to Latin Mass over the Holidays.


  17. This was beautiful ..Thank you

    You always find the right lift ones spirit..:)

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  19. Such wonderful words, as always, Pamela and just perfect for our BIO post this month. Most of us are blessed with a wonderful life and have the lovliest Christmases but we must not lose sight of the true spirit and meaning of this special time of the year. My friends and I had a charity lunch for Crisis at Christmas yesterday ( a charity that does wonderful work for the homeless at Christmas) and we raised a lot of money in only a matter of hours.
    We have woken up to a light dusting of snow this morning so I am twirling and clapping my hands !! Everywhere looks sparkly and my little part of England is glistening in it's Christmas coat ! XXXX

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  21. Pamela, this was just what I needed to hear. Your wonderful post about the spirit of Christmas. Thank you so much for this. This was a beautiful reminder of what is really important at this time of year.

  22. Not only do I know where the presents are hidden, I actually buy the stocking presents for myself, and am just as surprised and thrilled opening them on Christmas morning as if someone else put them there. I'm a never-ending believer in Santa Claus!

  23. So beautiful! I love your dog by the way, and can't wait to get a copy of your book. Hope to win one on Karena's blog!
    Happy Holidays.
    xo Nancy

  24. I have the spirit though less time as usual because I'll be traveling again soon. I've been to all Jasmin's concerts, another tomorrow, and hearing the Christmas carols and songs have brought so much enjoyment. My decorating is minimal this year - I'm looking forward to a little tree and a few gifts to share when I get home.......but most of all, and so important, seeing family and friends at this special time of year.

    Oh! almost forgot.........mince pies, a slice of real Christmas cake - with marzipan and icing of course - and rich Christmas pudding................all hoped for, and quite necessary to make the season merry, bright, traditional and English! A Christmas Eve service in an old Norman church if possible. Listening to Her Majesty's speech at 3 PM on Christmas Day, and then the fun of Boxing Day when we'll eat out with best friends of 60 years!

    Returning the gift of Christmas to you and yours Pamela.

    Hugs - Mary

  25. Pamela, I wanted my readers to read this, so I linked to it on my most recent blog post. Enjoy this beautiful season!

  26. Oh, Pamela, you touch my heart with every post. I've just finished your book and am giving it away to a cherished daughter-in-law for Christmas. Yesterday I heard a choir sing "O Holy Night" and it was as though the angels were singing praises to God. It's the quintessential Christmas carol. Thanks for giving so much joy to your readers.

  27. So lovely Pamela!! A wonderful way to start the day as I begin my holiday rituals before the crew descends next week!!

  28. After reading your lovely post and Sunday's Ciao Dominica on traditions I began thinking so much of our own and not only the importance of them but also the responsibility of us as parents to be certain we create traditions in our family. You inspired a post of my own. I linked both your blog and Sundays. Happy holiday season and all it's wonderful rituals.


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