The World All a-Glow

December 4, 2016

Bedazzled by lights

Bedazzled by lights

“Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas.  All else is outward display — so much tinsel and decorations.  For it isn’t the holly, it isn’t the snow.  It isn’t the tree nor the firelight’s glow.  It’s the warmth that comes to the hearts of men when the Christmas spirit returns again.”
— Author unknown

“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.”
— Ruth Carter Stapleton

I love the lights of Christmas.  I look for their colorful, twinkling cheer to brighten the darkness of this time of year.  The day after Thanksgiving I made myself proud by hanging a paltry, single string of lights over our front door.  Even that small source of color makes me happy once evening comes.  I won’t be putting much effort into Christmas baking or decorating this year, but that single string of lights makes a difference.

This year I found a new way to celebrate the lights of the season — I drove out to the suburbs to see the Christmas Lights show put on by Evergreen Church in Bothell.  The free light show runs very night from November 25th to January 1st.  For about 25 minutes, there is an extravaganza of bedazzling lights blinking on and off in time with piped-in Christmas music.  There is a warming house, cocoa and cookies, warming lamps outside, and on the grounds a tunnel of light and nativity scene.

Just before dusk, ribbons of crows — thousands of them — flew by high over the church to their night roosts.  That was amazing, too.

Evergreen Church in Bothell

Evergreen Church in Bothell

The church itself looks a bit like a suburban motel, but then it is magically transformed under the lights.  In the opening video, the church’s pastor states that there are 70 languages spoken in the city of Bothell, and then we hear individuals send us Christmas greetings in their native tongues.  I appreciated this warm welcome.

Here are some photos:

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“Snowflakes spill from heaven’s hand
Lovely and chaste like smooth white sand.
A veil of wonder laced in light
Falling gently on a winter’s night.”
–Linda A. Copp

Paper Star Snowflake

Paper Star Snowflake

Several years ago one of the gift wrappers at the University Bookstore in Seattle was making these holiday snowflakes (or they could be stars, I guess).  She gave me a photocopied set of instructions, original source unknown.  I’ve been meaning to make some of these snowflakes for holiday decorations, but until now, I never got around to it.

My finished snowflake hangs in my kitchen window, a lacy wonder that lets in the light.

Here are step-by-step instructions for making your own paper snowflake/star:

Fold each square in half to make a triangle.  Then fold in half again.  And again.

Fold each square in half to make a triangle. Then fold in half again. And again.

You need six square of paper.  I used 5 x 5-inch squares.  Fold each square in half along the diagonal, making a triangle.  Then fold in half again.  And again.

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Cut slits into each triangle.

Now, keeping the little triangles folded, cut four parallel slits on the solid side.  Cut almost all the way across.

Open the paper squares and press flat.

Open the paper squares and press flat.

Open each piece of paper back into a square and flatten with your fingers.

Cutting some of the inner square just to free two corners.

Cutting some of the inner square just to free two corners.

Next you will bring two opposite points of the inner squares together in a sequence.  In order to do this, you will first have to cut the corners free along one long diagonal fold line.  (Leave the other points/corners so that they are not cut all the way through.)

Starting with the smalled inner square, fold two points together and tape.

Starting with the smallest inner square, fold two points together and tape.

Starting with the smallest inner square, fold two opposite points together and tape into a cylindrical shape.

Turn the square over, and bring the points of the next larger square together.

Turn the square over, and bring the points of the next larger square together.

1. Turn the square over.  2.  Bring the opposite points of the next larger square together and tape.  Repeat steps 1 and 2 until all of the opposing points have been taped in the center.

You've finished square one!

You’ve finished square one!

Your square should now look like this.  You need five more.  Start folding and taping!

Staple three sections together at a point.

Staple three sections together at a point.

Once you have completed all six sections of the snowflake, take three and match up at a point.  Staple at this point.  Repeat with the other three sections.

Finished paper snowflake

Finished paper snowflake

That’s it!  Your paper snowflake/star is complete.

Hanging snowflake

Hanging snowflake

Another way to use paper snowflakes

It’s been a few years since I’ve taken scissors to white paper to cut out snowflakes.  I love how each snowflake is unique, just like real ones!  This year I went an extra step and sewed the paper snowflakes into garlands.  I made short garlands, each string with three or four snowflakes.  But you could easily sew them into one long garland for a Christmas tree decoration.

Sewing the snowflakes into garlands

I simply sewed each snowflake down an imaginary center line and left about two inches of thread between snowflakes.

Snowflakes sewn together with thread

I tied a bead to the bottom of each of my garlands so that they would hang down nicely.

Five snowflake garlands hanging in my kitchen window

I used the finished garland to make a snowflake “valance” in my kitchen window.

Dreaming of a white Christmas. . .

I'm not the only one thinking of a white Christmas. Here's the Starbucks sign for this holiday season.