Sunday, November 29, 2009

A jar of stones and a jar of sand ('Mummy's finally lost it!')

I have decided to start my Advent with two jars in the kitchen - 'Le Parfait' jars, to be precise, with some Christmassy tartan ribbon and some of Lululiz's giveaway prize lace. (They're sitting on Beck's beautiful vintage Christmas cloth for the purposes of this photo shoot - lots of lovely bloggy connections.)
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In one jar are some well-washed stones, and in the other is sand. 'Mummy's finally flipped, ' joked Son 1, when he found me drying the sand in the oven this week. At least, I think he was joking...
So, is there a method in my madness? I think there is, and some of you may recognise what I'm doing, as I found the idea in a book a few years ago. At the time it struck me as interesting enough, but I didn't think I'd actually do it. But this year it seems very pertinent - it's interesting how things we learn may not become useful for a while...As you can see, these very pretty stones fit easily into the jar.
It's very easy to pour the sand in around them, and still shut the lid - everything fits.But the nature of sand and stones means that if I try to put the sand in first, the stones become ridiculously difficult to fit in - no chance at all!Ah, so here we have an Illustration. An Allegory. A Parable. These jars and their contents Are A Lot Like Life.They are particularly like Life in the run-up to Christmas.
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The stones are to remind me of the things that actually matter in my life. For me, the three stones represent Love - love for God, love for Ben and the boys and love for my family and others. What else really matters?
The sand represents the pre-Christmas 'To Do' list - often fun, possibly stressful, mostly important, but not as important as the Love.
It all needs to get done, but it can overtake the real priorities as Christmas approaches...and the result is a life with so much to do that the Love gets left out.The beauty of the jars is that the 'To Do' list fits in perfectly well AROUND the Love, so long as practical expressions of that love are done first, or given priority.It's not about leaving the Christmas preparations, the housework and the job un-done, it's just about fitting them around the real priorities.
So I like this practical little illustration of priorities at Christmas time.
I will be keeping the jars on top of my freezer in the kitchen, in the hope that they will be a gentle reminder of what really matters to me this Advent.

17 comments:

marigold jam said...

Love it! I have heard of it before but it certainly doesn't hurt to be reminded again and I love the idea pf putting the jars where you can see them to remember. I have had a fraught week so no posting done but did do my advant one last weekend and it is scheduled to be published later today. I will look forward to reading other bloggers posts.

Jane x

Michela said...

A part from the pretty display I love the contents of this post! Thank you so much for your lovely comment and for the pleasure to join your event!

TheMadHouse said...

This is a fantastic way of showing something, a real thing to remember. Thank you for introducing it to me.

Pomona said...

Floss, that is so lovely. It is a really salutary tale, and one worth remembering. Thank you for reminding us all of what is most important at this time of year.

Pomona x

Angela said...

Thanks for the reminder, Floss - "Big Rocks First" is such a good principle! I have enjoyed working through the other advent posts in your 'event' - grateful to you for setting it up!!
Blessings x

Kate said...

Just incredible! My son very recently, for his RS homework, had to illustrate one man building his house on rocks and the other, sand. I asked him to tell me what had been explained to him at school and he said, "I dunno" (what's new, typical male). I showed him your post, we read it through together and then I asked him what the point was. He said "I dunno" but this time I am happy he got the sentiment. Floss, you told this so well, it really does put our life into perpective and I'm sure I'll be digging this post out again and again. Thank you x

Serenata said...

Dear Floss, what a beautiful thought provoking post. I think I am going to see I can find the materials needed to make one of those jars tomorrow to remind me. Especially as I've felt unusually (well for quite a few months) stressy today.

Josie Ray said...

That is an excellent illustration. And a reminder that I also need. In fact, I think I'll bookmark this particular post and read it each week throughout December. Thank you.

Josie-Mary said...

Lovely post Floss, makes you think :) x

Lynne said...

This a lovely post and a good one to start your Pause for Advent methinks, which is also a lovely thought.

Lululiz said...

Mum has finally lost it/flipped - I would get the same reaction from my boys as well, but then they would add - on second thoughts, she lost it years ago.

What a great post though,I really appreciate your message.

The Curious Cat said...

Oh my! What a lovely little lesson/story and so beautifully illustrated...I loved reading it and you are totally right... xxx

Country Bliss said...

What a beautiful post, very thought provoking.
Yvonne x

Kaye said...

What a great post! My friend made one of these for me, using walnuts and rice, when my kids were young. We then incorporated it in our Advent devotions each year! It got packed away when my kids were grown and we moved. I had forgotten about it until I read this article. THANK YOU for reminding me. I'm going to share this with my grandkids this week. I'll probably use your materials as they won't spoil. :)

My post, on Advent wreaths and Beeswax candles, just posted at SandwichINK. A great idea, from a different friend. :) I'm looking forward to reading even more interesting ideas as I slowly but surely make my way through the rest of the Advent posts this week. :)

Luisa @ Dance in my garden said...

You have no idea how timely this post has been for me! I have of this a couple of months ago the first time, but it's very apt at this time of the year.
Thanks for the inspiration.

A Bun Can Dance said...

Oh thank you for this! I needed this reminder today.... not just in relation to Christmas but life in general.
Such a simple and effective momento - and aren't stones just beautiful?
D x

Kaye said...

Hi Floss, I just read a lovely devotional at Thirsty for Him, part of Word-Filled Wednesday which I also participate in. :) It went so well with this that I thought you might enjoy it as well. :) :) :) http://tracyberta [dot] blogspot [dot] com/2009/12/no-room-for-jesusat-wfw [dot] html