POST CHRISTMAS -
Christmas came again this year, as it does each year no matter our circumstances or situations. Christmas finds a way to slip in beside us and settle in the manger of our hearts and lives. Each one uniquely different.
This year was no exception.
The Church of Another Denomination printed a very optimistic multitude of bulletins. There was great expectation and it was unfortunate that we did not come close to 200. 112 was the number. The head usher was a bit flumoxed that the candlelighting would be a bit different with ushers lighting the people at the end of the pew, instead of people picking up a candle and having it lit as they made their way back to their pew seat from
partaking of communion. A sort of dangerous practice and the first ones to commune would have their candles burning for quite some time.
Communion was also a wee different, as I again, had the manger with straw and a loaf of bread wrapped in white linen and offered a true invitation and my own Great Prayer of Thanksgiving which included the singing of "Gloria in excelsi Deo" refrain from Angels We Have Heard on High. The post-communion canticle was sung to "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"
and the "Lamb of God" was replaced by the fourth verse of "O Little Town of Bethlehem", which made for a festive communion. I intoned the words, "The Bread of Heaven come down for you" as I gave the bread to each one. It was visually and aurally rife and dripping with meaning and symbolism.
I got home about 9:30 pm and was mightily disappointed that the brie LH had bought was no good! There was quite an odor that wasn't obvious the day he bought it, but the rind was darker and not white on the bottom. So, fortunately, LH had bought some Jarlsberg Swiss and that sufficed but didn't go with the Nicolas Feuillatte champagne as well as Brie does. NF is my favorite champagne - bubbly but I never get a headache from it. It's crisp and clean - just like champagne ought to be.
Christmas Day we had a few more in the cavernous sanctuary than I had expected. I tried to do a pool - I came up with 25, one parishioner who helped light candles suggested 10, the assisting minister and organist didn't give an estimate - so I suppose I won since we had 38!!
I focused on the Isaiah passage and read a wonderful story by Norman Vincent Peale called "A Faraway Christmas". It was a very nice, warm service.
Afterwards, I got home earlier since there was no Sunday School and changed, had lunch, fed the greys, LH came home, had lunch then we opened our gifts and promptly went down for our naps. Late afternoon, we made several calls to our families and enjoyed talking with them and thanking them for their wonderful gifts. LH surprised me with a beautiful sterling silver bangle bracelet from the Scottish Jewelry Designer - Sheila Fleet. The three interlocking waved bangles move and change configuration which is evocative of waves. Truly unique and since I'm so intuned to water, it was perfect.
My brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Canada surprised me with a pair of winter olympic Canada mittens - red with a white maple leaf on each hand, just like the Canadian olympic athletes wore!!! They are great!!!
Although, we never did get a tree to put up, I bought a small swag of greens that I placed on a Christmas placemat and added a pine and cedar scented candle and it was lovely.
There was peace, a quiet joy, and a spirit of love that infused this Christmas. And hope was present as well. A quieter, low-key, simple Christmas but beautiful nevertheless.
I pray that Christmas crept in beside you and left you the gifts that your heart and spirit longed for - the Christ child - and a deeper connection and love for the Lord. May His peace be with you all these days of Christmas and throughout the New Year.