Two things immediately jump to mind when looking at this ornament. First of all, it is very similar to the well known sculpture "A Quiet Moment" by Timothy P. Schmalz. (www.sculpturebytps.com) Both are similar in the round circle composition, the materials used and the portrayal of the family as an inter-generational circle of love. Its really a beautiful statue, full of love and tenderness. Which brings me to the second point - the question of belonging, of being at home.
Fr. Robert Spitzer sums up this longing to belong - and how that is ultimately found in God - in a profound manner in his book The Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life (available on My Bookshelf ). He talks about what happens when there is unity, the unity found within the life of the family of the Trinity. I'll just quote him here:
"this peace is more than mere relief from suffering, a sense of well-being, or a sense of equanimity. It is rooted in a deep sense of home, home amid the cosmos (which we who have faith know is being at home with God. ) Its opposite is alienation, a sense of not being at home in or "being out of kilter with" the totality. The signature of the Holy Spirit is the sense of having a place in the totality, of "fitting in," of being bathed in joy or light (even when one is aware of sadness and darkness), that is, of being in unity with the Creator and principle of all being.
As Catholics and Christians, we very likely view this "being at home in the totality," this "freedom from being alone against the totality" as being part of the mystical body of Christ. Being part of Christ's mystical body through the Holy Spirit is an experience of home, holiness, unity, joy and peace as seen through the eyes of thousands of saints who have embraced a life of holiness throughout history...This sense of home imparts a profound sense of peace through the removal of all alienation (from self, others, nature, and even God.) It is like a light that outshines all darkness, a warmth that drives out all cold or a fullness that replaces all emptiness. Yet, it is quite personal and loving, that makes it uniquely God's signature."
Mom & Daughter Memories
By Debra Nielson
This ornament is similar to the 2012 ornament, which is also an apron with kitchen utensils, but this ornament is a little more trendy. It is similar to the mismatched skirt fashion, popular (and very fun!) right now. The whole idea of taking two or three really dis-similar patterns and putting them together to create a bohemian look is quite an idea. It's also a good metaphor for many of the mother/daughter relationships I know. To be frank, many mothers and daughters have a stressful relationship. They have difficulty being in the same room and erupt into fights like clockwork. The reasons for this are many, and unique to each relationship, but this apron gives hope. Somehow, with grace and the Holy Spirit, two very different people can find peace with each other. Real, honest peace, too, not just lip service. Now, this doesn't happen magically, it requires work and growth. Nevertheless, this lovely ornament quite simply states that from disparate pieces, one unity can be achieved, and the new thing that emerges will be as unique and wonderful as the people who make it up. It reminds us to take a deep breath, and let each other grow into the unique, wonderful people God envisioned at our creation.
Light and Love:
By Joanne Eschrich
Caring Bridge is one of my favorite sites. It allows family members of those in need of care - usually due to a chronic or crisis sickness, to journal updates and send them out to their followers. It enables those who care about the ill person to be updated on family needs, as well as know what is going on in the care and treatment of the sick, sparing the family of having to repeat the same often gut-wrenching information fifty times to different people.
And how appropriate is this beautiful butterfly as a symbol of the journey of sickness! The sentiment on the butterfly wings is perfect - " LIGHT to lead you. LOVE to lift you." This brings to mind two things.
1. First, the butterfly is the symbol in nature that represent new life. The gorgeous butterfly was once the lowly worm, crawling along on its belly. After a period of "death" in the cocoon, the creature emerges, totally transformed. This is the same type of radical transformation we, as Christians, look forward to in the resurrection, and not just our own bodily transformation but also the transformation of all of creation when God is "all in all."
2. Secondly, the butterfly is also a symbol of healing, and this healing is specifically available to us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is the sacrament that makes the healing of Christ available to us, personally and directly. It brings about a radical transformation, albeit an unseen, internal one, that results in restoration, in new life with God, with each other, and within ourselves. The story of the Woman at the Well clearly exemplifies this transformation. She goes from outcast to evangelist, from shame to joy, all due to meeting the "living water," Christ. May we all encounter this healing and radical transformation - if not physically then emotionally and spiritually!
Toy Store Dreams
By Tammy Haddix
Although this ornament is a Christmas window, it's not part of the popular Christmas Window series. In fact, that series already has a Toy Store Window. But this ornament could easily fit in there. The main difference between the two ornaments, though, are the toys displayed. This ornament has a large rocking horse and a model airplane in the front window. The title of the ornament sums up the message here - its all about dreaming. Everyone knows that rocking horses don't go anywhere, no matter how hard or how long you ride them. The same goes for the model airplane. Even if it has a little motor, it doesn't go far and no one can actually get in it, anyway. So what's the point?Again, it's all about dreams. The look on the little girls' face shows this - she is simply rapt. This ornament conveys Jesus' message about being little children. We might do the same thing, over and over, like riding a rocking horse that doesn't go anywhere, but we still believe it might. We intellectually know that horse will stay in the same place, but yet...we still wonder. Maybe the first time, or even the tenth time we try to do something (like be patient, or be kind to that one person, or speak up, or be more organized, or whatever) we fail, we don't go anywhere, but what about if we can try to the twentieth time? or we succeed on the thirtieth? That kind of hopeful persistence comes from God. The Christian faith asks us to believe a lot of things that are intellectually impossible - like the mystery contained in the sacraments, for a start. We can only get there if we have the imagination- and hope- of a child.