One of the best cups of tea I have ever was from the breathtaking, historic Brown Palace Hotel in Denver at their afternoon Christmas tea. The Brown Palace is featured in many books, movies, and tv series (Hallmark’s Sign Sealed and Delivered being one of them) and with its history dating back to 1892, it has been visited by royalty, presidents, celebrities and the like. And my, it is a beautiful site especially when all spiffed up for Christmas.
Our tradition is going to the Brown Palace for afternoon tea during the Christmas season with the women of our family: my grandma, my mom, myself, my sister, and just recently my oldest daughter. We make sure to dress up and take our time.
Once tea time is announced (it has been reserved for at least a year!) we make our way to the dining area where the quaint tables and chairs are. After cozying up in a spot (some have nooks and crannies) we all order: would it be earl grey, rooibos or perhaps an oolong? And your choice of finger sandwiches: classic cucumber, a turkey with spicy aioli on rye bread, or curry egg salad? (They are finger sandwiches, so try all three!)
We make our selections and settle back to enjoy conversation and the beautiful atmosphere of this historic hotel.
Soon the server arrives with the tea, and after making quite a production (at least it feels that way to me— I do not usually enjoy meals at such a refined place!) the tea is poured and the teapots set to the side. The infusion is the perfect blend— not too strong or too weak. Yes, they are masters at their craft. They also add a little server of real Devonshire cream (shipped from England) and sugar cubes (both raw sugar and the refined white). We use the little tongs to place the proper amount of sugar in our tea cups and add cream if we like, then lift our pinkies and smile as we act like the refined ladies that we are (not). 😆
The rest of our tea time unfolds as if it was straight from the pages of a story book, and far too quickly our appointment is done. But we comfort ourselves with the thought of coming again next year (or one year soon!) and enjoying this special holiday tradition.
Having tea prepared for you at a fancy tea is much different than trying to make the concoction at home! I just recently experimented with brewing loose leaf tea at home and, without the proper strainer, I ended up with tea leaves floating in my tea cup. Yikes! I have since brewed a few more cups and the results have often resulted in too weak of a tea. How long should I let it soak? These things are a mystery to me! What talent goes into making that perfect infusion…
The other day, while enjoying a (imperfectly infused) tea, I sat next to my Christmas tree and the whole house was still and quiet. I don’t know if you value quiet like I do but my, it was just so peaceful! I felt the spirit’s nudging… to get out my Bible in that moment instead of waiting until my usual time before bed. I pulled out my Bible and sped read through the first few verses as if I was on a deadline…. Just grabbing the necessities.
Slow down, my heart whispered.
Oh yes, that’s right. This was not a race or a “read quick to absorb main gist of things” situation. This was God’s Word… God’s presence awaiting me here, beside the Christmas tree– with my Bible and weakly infused tea in hand. I took a deep breath and reread the verses, slowly— taking in the details of the angel telling Mary about his plans and vision for her, then the majesty of the birth of Jesus. And you know what? The story came alive. It was the same when I turned to my verses for the day. They spoke softly right into the crevices of my heart— the part of my heart that I didn’t even know was tender, worn, or tired.
And let me tell you friends, this was seriously no longer than 10-15 minutes (I mean that is only 1/4 of a binge worthy show to watch, right?) and the results were incredible.
I felt that “infusion of strength” inside of me in the form of encouragement, a glow, and excitement for the Word– for God and what He has done and is doing in the world and in my little life.
I was amazed at the results I encountered from that special time away SOAKING in the word and with the Lord. It was just the perfect blend… perfect infusion that I needed for the moment.
Just like how that tea needs just the optimum time to infuse properly we need our own time to let the Word and God’s presence INFUSE into us in the proper measure.
If we allow time for the Word, for time in His presence, His infusion of strength will transfer to us and we will emerge different, new, BOLDER than we were before.
Oh, that time with the Lord is so precious! I now find myself forward to that special “infusion of strength” time again… and again. I still hold onto my nightly devotional routine (because that is just what works for right now) but I am learning to also let God speak to me in random times (not just my scheduled times).
I’m learning the strength that comes from the example of the tea brewing… the proper infusion of the strong tea leaves and the lifeless water to make the perfect blend. The blend that emboldens my heart and sets my heart on His path for the day. Do you know it can be the same for you too? Soon presents will be unwrapped and moments of the content afterglow of Christmas will linger. I plan to take time (maybe while my kids tackle their new lego projects! 😉 ) to grab my Bible and settle in by the Christmas tree. I’ll go in with the purpose to just soak with the Lord, letting Him infuse me with His strength, direction and encouragement. I encourage you to do this too. He knows just what each one of us need!
And, in being realistic…. there are those moments we aren’t able to sit still or quiet ourselves. And that is okay. Perhaps we are in the middle of errands or doing family activities or making a first cup of coffee (or tea) when we feel that gentle nudge on our hearts— the gentle tap of God’s whispered, “I am here”. Even in the busyness, we can acknowledge His presence and let the Lord transfer a bold emulsion of His strength.
Just this week we had one of those nudges of His presence while busy viewing the Christmas lights together as a family. Coming upon a beautiful scene, including the nativity scene, our youngest called from the back seat— “Mom, I feel the Christmas Spirit. Do you feel it?” I took a moment to breathe, to smile, to acknowledge the sweet reminder of His presence there with us even in the midst of the simple notion of looking at Christmas lights. “Yes, sweetie, I feel it…” we proceeded to talk all about Christ– the true Spirit of Christmas. Even in the quick, little things God has a transfer of just the amount of peace, love, PRESENCE that you and I need.
I encourage you to INFUSE yourself in the word this week and in relationship with God. I get it, there are so many things calling our names…. Deadlines, appointments before the end of the year, children’s school work, not to mention all the things that need to be done for Christmas/New Year…. But this season is precious, so much deeper than any one of us comprehends.
Take time to slow down and savor the “royal blend” our savior Jesus has for you today. You will find it is exactly what you need!
So grab your tea (or coffee), your Bible and head over to the Christmas tree. Sit there, and even if it is noisy… imperfect, or interrupted, let God speak to your heart through His Word. Let His Word infuse you. It’s the perfect blend every time!
Here are a few of the scriptures that spoke to my heart the other day:
2 Corinthians 13:11
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”Psalm 46:10
Until next time,