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“On Christmastime”

I had a kind of revelation this Christmas season.

I recently went to a caroling service at Redeemer in New York City. Tim Keller, an extraordinary mind and speaker, offered a perspective on Christmas that stuck with me in a way that no other view on Christmas has before.

The singing is wonderful at Christmastime. So are the lights. Gifts are nice too. And all of the joy that comes with togetherness.

But Christmas is rooted in the most humble and meager existence that a human can have.We see so many nativity scenes at Christmastime that are romanticized. The lighting is beautiful. Mary’s makeup is perfect.

But Christmas happened with a child born in the most raw and unglamorous conditions… literally with an animal feed trough for a bed. We like to romanticize it, but it wasn’t romantic at all. It was real and human and harsh.

I’ve spent a lot of this Christmas season thinking about how humble and simple that is. And trying to take pleasure in simple things. Trying to see how delightful those can be. Trying to be grateful for them. I have a lot of blessings in life, and so I am trying to relish in them more, rather than focus on what could be better. And seeing that the imperfection in humanity in its rawest form is powerful and beautiful even when it is hard.

I saw a beautiful, beautiful friend the other night, who I hadn’t seen in a while.

We went to one of our favorite places in New York, called Freeman’s and talked about Christmas and what it meant to us, and the role that family and friendship played in it.

We had dried chamomile flowers floating in our beverages. They made us smile.

We took lots of photos to remember the night.

Earlier that day I made hard apple cider doughnuts and crunched into the crispy skin and soft middle with my teeth. It is a recipe I’m working on for my next book… the book being why I haven’t been able to write much around here lately. Thanks for baring with me, friends.

This Christmas season I also became friends with a butcher, the old school kind, that makes sausage from scratch and is willing to sell me 6 pounds of fat to render in my own kitchen.

And I walked the lights of New York City and took in their joy.

 

I’ve realized that Christmas is hard for some people. It is joyous but it is also hard. For some people it is lonely. For others it is stressful. What I have liked about this season is learning that that is okay. Because Christmas came out of very hard, raw, unromantic circumstances. And through those hard times we can get closer to what Christmas really was, we can relish and enjoy the simplest things, define what family means to us, and truly see their beauty.

Merry Christmas, my friends. I am grateful for you.

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks, GP, for those beautiful thoughts. Please have the most merry Christmas possible!

  2. Indeed, the reality is often not the preferred picture of Christmas. It was an incredible thing that happened that night so many years ago and the ramifications everlasting. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and have a merry Christmas.

  3. Merry Christmas! This year, I’ve been embracing my inner conflict with the holidays. Usually, I set good boundaries, then I feel guilty. I still feel a bit of guilt, but I’ve refused to feed the guilt this year. So far, so good!

    Thanks so much for a blog full of things that celebrate girl hunters. You’ve inspired me and I’ve set some new goals. Someday, maybe we’ll meet on one of your girl hunter outings. It’s on my wish list.

    • I love your idea of “not feeding the guilt.” I’m going to tuck that one away to remember : ) Merry Christmas Robin!

  4. Jim McCormick says:

    Georgia, we just shared your comments with our family . We are at sea Island with faith and one of Susan’s brothers and his family. If you have an extra day on either side of your Barnsley trip, would love to see you. Thanks for sharing. Jim and Susan McCormick

    • Hi Jim ~ it’s so nice to hear from you on here! I hope you are all having a lovely time at Sea Island. I will try to come visit when I am in your area : ) Merry Christmas!

  5. Thanks for you thoughts Georgia. I am in Panama without family, and it is a little tough sometimes on the holidays away from my girls in Texas. But your comments are on point, and I make the best of it, and have enjoyed the day. I am a new friend and look forward to reading your posts and trying some of your recipes. Boquete is the center of food production for Panama, with fresh fruit and vegetables growing year round. Have a great Christmas season, God bless you and your work, and have a Happy prosperous New Year, or as we says here feliz navidad y prospero nuevo ano!
    Bob

  6. Well said…Georgia P. It appears you’re with family and friends over the holiday. So glad you can share time with them. I do hope you have the best Christmas ever today. Just remember there is much more to the story…after the birth. It gets even better. May God continue to bless you and yours. Merry Christmas! Be Blessed!!! –Steve

  7. That was a beautiful comment on what Christmas is really about. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Christine Marie says:

    Georgia,

    I typically am not the “I’m your biggest fan” type of girl. Your book and blog have managed to change that for me, and I felt a strong urge to reach out to you and give thanks for bringing not only class and charm into hunting, but also for now having back-up in a world where many people are very ignorant and uneducated about where their food comes from. I received Girl Hunter from my fiance for Christmas this year, and finished reading it days after it was given to me. I don’t want to make this long and drawn out – I will get to the point. You’re an amazing, fearless woman, and more young women our age need to step out of the box in the way that you have. You’re a purist in the most relatable form – you’re young, you’re educated, and also a chef who wanted to know where from and how her ingredients got to her kitchen. I’ve always loved to cook but never had an expansive palette until I moved in with my now fiance. He is an avid hunter and fisherman who’s determined to live off the land and his own two hands. With his guidance, I have become an avid hunter and fisherwoman who can now not only hunt and fish, but also de-breast a quail, skin and fillet a mahi-mahi, and pluck and clean a turkey. I have yet to hunt bigger game on my own but am learning to hone my shooting skills. I’d love to share stories and recipes with you! Being a woman in this sport isn’t always the easiest thing, but your experiences in Girl Hunter seem to mirror some of the experiences I’ve had since being dragged on numerous duck hunts on the coast of North Carolina, deep sea fishing in Cabo (enjoying THE most fresh sushi I’ve ever had, caught myself!), and fly fishing in Wyoming just to name a few. Thank you again for being yourself and a great role model!

    Christine

    • Hi Christine,
      Thanks so much for your lovely note, it’s wonderful to see other women who like to roll up their sleeves! Hopefully we will meet one day at an event, or even one of my ladies adventure weekends. Your future husband is a lucky guy!