• "Oh, if I could only put things into words as I see them! Mr. Carpenter says, 'Strive, strive -- keep on. Words are your medium -- make them your slaves -- until they will say for you what you want them to say.' That is true, and I do try, but it seems to me there is something beyond words -- any words -- all words -- something that always escapes you when you try to grasp it -- yet leaves something in your hand which you wouldn't have had if you hadn't reached for it. ... I have written myself out for tonight, and am going to bed."
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    This is my place to "write myself out" -- sharing both my day-by-day thoughts and my artistic output. Thank you for visiting! - Carmen Pauls Orthner
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Have you any room?

Filed under Christmas • Written by Carmen @ December 18, 2010

Here is my response to Shimelle’s Dec. 15 prompt, about visitors.

A flashback to Mom and Dad’s living room, flames crackling merrily in the fireplace, the Christmas tree aglow, and Evie’s “Come on Ring Those Bells” playing on the record player:

No room, only a manger of hay;
No room, He is a stranger today.
No room, here in His world turned away,
No room, no room

Angels in Heaven up yonder
Watch with amazement and wonder
To see the Son of the Highest treated so.

No room, here in the hearts of mankind,
No room, no cheery welcome to find.
No room, surely the world is blind,
No room, no room.

Have you any room for Jesus
He who bore your load of sin
As He knocks and asks admission,
Sinner, won’t you let Him in?

Room for Jesus, King of Glory,
Hasten now His word obey.
Swing your heart’s door widely open,
Bid Him enter while you may.

When I stop to think about it, not one player in the original Christmas story was anywhere near their home when those events occurred. The shepherds were out in the cold, damp fields outside of Bethlehem, the angels had descended from heaven to speak the message of good news, the magi had travelled “from the east” by starlight to find the promised king, and Mary and Joseph had left their home in Nazareth days earlier, travelling most likely by donkey to Joseph’s ancestral home, to be counted in the Roman census. And Jesus, of course – well, of all of them, He was both the closest and farthest from “home”.

This year, for the first time that I can remember, I won’t be travelling any more than a 10-minute drive from my house during the Christmas season – so I will be the one playing host to the visitors. We’ve already had Kathy Prokopchuk and Klara Epp here a couple of times for our prayer triplet meeting, and Klara and her husband Alden and Royal Atton here for a Sunday lunch, and Megan Schreiner for crafting (she worked on Christmas cards for her colleagues, while I made some progress on my journal). Angie will be here tomorrow to babysit Sara while Bryan and I go to Weight Watchers, and Debbie from ECIP will be dropping by as well.

And then, on Dec. 30, my parents will be arriving to celebrate the season with us, after they get back from B.C., so I’ve got lots of cleaning to do in the basement – now that Sara’s moved into the “guest room”, our pull-out couch in the library/office/TV room will have to serve, and it’s still pretty cluttered since our renovations earlier this year. I want to be a good host, and do my mom proud – I’ve always been so impressed with her ability to make everyone feel so comfortable and cared for.

A tradition she established years ago is that of the “Christmas orphan” – on Christmas Day, our feast was always shared with one or more people who didn’t have anywhere else to go for the holiday. It makes around-the-table conversations much richer and livelier, and we enjoy learning about other people and encompassing others in the circle of our family, even if it is only for that day.

One of my favourite times was the year that Curtis had spent the summer co-leading a team from Briercrest Bible College as they paddled down the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories, and stopping at small First Nations communities along the way to set up a rock climbing wall for the local kids to try out. That Christmas, Mom had invited a young couple from China, an older couple (both retired professors) who had worked with the Commonwealth Secretariat in Papua New Guinea, and one of her students, a young man who had left the Hutterite colony he grew up in and moved to the city. And there we all were, in Mom and Dad’s living room, watching slides from Curtis’ trip. A multicultural Christmas indeed! It’s a tradition I would really like to establish with Sara, and a very do-able one, I think, especially once we are either in Toronto or overseas.


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