Saturday, December 26, 2015

Mid-Christmas Reflection: 5 Things

I consider December 26th Mid-Christmas because I subscribe to the old-school notion that Christmas lasts until January 6th (Epiphany). You know, the 12 days and all.

Anyway, it's a weirdly warm but rainy Saturday and it's a great time to sit and think of all the things I am grateful for this Christmas season. So, here are 5 things.

1.  Caroling with our Sunday School class.  We are a small, warbling bunch but this is our 3rd year caroling at a nearby retirement complex.  It is a beautiful night when you get to be with people  you love doing something good that brings joy to people on the margins of life. Hilde and our friend Aubrey also play violin inside the actual nursing home. When they played in the memory care unit, I almost lost it.  The residents are in all stages of dementia. Most were kind of smelly, they had just eaten and some still had bibs on. One lady was missing a sock.  When the simple Christmas music started they lit up. They were so happy.  It was such a poignant moment that a simple gift of music from 2 teenagers could bring such joy. Totally what Christmas is really about.

2.  Dinner with friends.  We had people over for Christmas dinner and I was in my happy place.  I love people. I love people in my house. I love to feed people.  We shared dinner with old and new friends and had hours and hours of conversation and ate tons of food. It reminded of the saying "Every table is altar." The love and fun that flowed around my table was an offering of gratitude.
Taking joy in friendship and celebration is truly worship that honors God.

3. Christmas Eve service with my family.  Even though it's crazy full, it's such a beautiful service.  Our church does communion on Christmas Eve which reminds me that Christmas only begins the story of Christ. Ultimately, Christmas and Easter are linked.  We worship a God who descends in order to heal. 

4. Food.  Maeve, Hilde and I have a running joke that food is our love language. Maeve has been baking out of a vintage cookbook Visions of Sugarplums by Mimi Sheraton.  It has Christmas baking recipes from around the world.  She made simple butter cookies, Pfeffernusse, swirl cookies and Moravian Love Buns on Christmas.  Hilde has been perfecting her shortbread recipe and this year we purchased shortbread molds.  The molds make it look beautiful and it is was too easy to eat.
Christmas dinner was full of sharing food with friends. My friend Deidra made red velvet cake from scratch and I introduced her to Tuaca.

5. Family.  Maeve and Hilde decorated 99% of the house by themselves.  I would come home from work and the trees would be up and the house was decorated. Another day Maeve worked with Daniel to put up the outside lights.  They did ALL the Christmas baking and made 2 dishes for Christmas dinner.  When they have their own houses, they are either going to go all out or say,"I did that when I was younger, I'm not decorating any more."  I am truly aware of how awesome my daughters are on regular occasions.  They never cease to amaze me.  This Christmas went way beyond normal awesomeness. They made my load so much lighter this year.  The only thing I had to do was order from Amazon Prime and cook Christmas dinner.

5 things.  I could have written more.  My advent devotions this year have me thinking about how the Incarnation affects me today.  Not just that God moved into the neighborhood all those years ago but that I am called to live out this Incarnation daily.  A large part of the process is to open my eyes to the wonder around me.  This Christmas season that's been so easy to do.