Oh, rest beside the weary road…

"And you, beneath life's crushing load, whose forms are bending low, who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow, look now, for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing, and ever o'er its babble sounds, the blessed angels sing…Oh rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing!" – It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Edmund H. Sears
 
With admiration and awe, I observe the woman two rows ahead and three seats over from where I am sitting at a holiday concert. Decorated like a spruce, she is adorned from head to toe with bells and bows.

Embodied with Christmas spirit, she flutters about musically as her arms move in airy waves and her head turns with gentle precision as though she is leading a grand chorus of angels.

Knitted into her sweater is a star illuminating a brightly colored manger scene. Her festive red shoes, trimmed in sparkling gold, coordinate with a cherry shoulder purse and a shimmering crimson skirt that flows to her ankles.

She jingles, too, with a bracelet of bells on her wrist, a string of bells around her neck and a cluster of bells dangling from each ear. Even hairpins she has so painstakingly placed make her gray locks dazzle.

It appears that this woman has donned every Christmas item from a vast collection of festive holiday apparel. I imagine there is nothing left in her closet now darkened, save everyday stuff sulking in drab browns, grays and blues.

Her jewelry box, too, has become a velvet-lined wasteland, emptied of every Rudolph pin that flashes and holly berry necklace that glimmers.

This woman reminds me of my one and only Christmas pendant that I have left waiting silently somewhere in a dresser drawer.

She inspires memories of elementary school teachers, who every year on the last day before Christmas vacation applied the same festive merrymaking as this woman, for whom I am so grateful.

She is a walking Christmas card – a moving yuletide carol aglow with 'tis the season joy written in a code understood throughout the ages.

Such holiday spirit, gaudy yet graceful, chases away my gloom brought on by winter's darkness and embodies a light recognized by generations.

 I love this Christmas lady, her glad and golden garb reminds me that Christmas, once again, is calling to set me free.

Her spirit sings to me, "And you, beneath life's crushing load, whose forms are bending low, who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow, look now, for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing, and ever o'er its babble sounds. The blessed angels sing…Oh rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing!"
 
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took three first-place awards. To contact Paula, email pauladamon@iw.net, follow her blog at www.my-story-your-story.blogspot.com and find her on Facebook.
2009© Paula Damon

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