Monday, December 25, 2006

The Reason for the Season

This was one of our best Christmas’. It just sort of fell together, rather than being planned. We originally planned to go to Portland to be with family, which we usually do and enjoy, but this year we were invited to friends for Christmas Eve dinner. This complicated our plans to travel out of town, and due to the girls rarely getting to see their friends, we decided to accept the invitation and adapt our plans.

This left Saturday free for a little more shopping and gift wrapping and the belated discovery that if we weren’t going to go join family for Christmas, that we had to come up with a complete dinner on our own. Hmmmm. So off we went shopping and planning.

Sunday morning we had a short service in the morning with many great carols as a part of the worship. Sunday evening we went back again for a Christmas Eve candlelight communion service which was beautiful and reverent. Directly after that we arrived at our friends home where the evening was full of good food, laughter, games, conversation and relaxing around the fire. Coffees with eggnog and candlelit conversations were the ingredients of wonderful memories. We made a late trip home, helped Santa fill stockings and finally fell gratefully into bed in the early minutes of Christmas morning.

Christmas morning early (but later in the day than a normal working day wake-up call) brought the hurried capture of the pet mouse who had escaped from cage and who brought him/herself to the attention to the dog sleeping in the master bedroom. Fortunately for the kid owner and the mouse, the dog did not make the capture, mom did; and shortly all were back in bed again hoping for a few more coveted hours of sleep.

Later morning brought breakfast, homemade eggnog lattes, the reading of the Christmas story and our traditional reading, by dad, of “The Littlest Angel.” As usual, the parents snuffled through the end of the sweet story. Presents followed and each person had something they were delighted to have received. ( I am trying to stretch out reading my new Tony Hillerman book. . .trying.)

After presents we quickly threw the turkey together and put it in the oven to cook while we went to watch The Nativity, a new movie about the birth of Jesus. We spent nearly two hours getting a glimpse back in time of what life was like for people in Israel two thousand years ago. Wonderful movie. . .ahhh.

After the movie we jumped into hurried preparations to get the rest of dinner caught up with the turkey when we realized our neighbors next door were home alone for the evening. We made an impromptu invitation for them to join us since there is always more than enough food to go around at a holiday dinner and soon were were six at dinner rather than four. More food, laughter and stories and another fun evening swiftly passed.

Tomorrow life goes on as usual with myriad responsibilities and tasks. But today life was filled with one memorable and satisfying hour after another.

Best of all, we had time to remember and enjoy all day the Person who gives all of life meaning – the baby in a manger to whom shepherds ran in amazement to see and wise men crossed vast miles to worship. And tomorrow we wake to Him in our lives just as usual – no longer as a baby, but as the Messiah of God who came once two thousand years ago, and Who really will come again at the end of the age whenever it turns out to be.

If it’s hard to believe He’s coming again, remember that it’s always been amazing that he was here the first time. But he was and the world has never been the same. His love and purposes have never changed and we are glad to welcome Him into our home and lives tomorrow as well as today.

Merry Christmas – God bless us every one!