December 25th, 2013

lindisfarne gospels

Still, still, still

Home from Christmas Eve service. All is quiet; grandcubs are in bed, others are heading that way. It'll take me a little while to wind down.

Christmas Eve is a difficult service for me. By the time we get to the Advent finish line, I'm usually physically exhausted and (often) spiritually exhausted as well. Dealing with people and organizing things and being "on" is really tough for the old introvert by this time. So tonight, I made sure I got to the church far ahead of other people, and not just to open things up. Had to get myself ready, mentally and spiritually.

That began with some alone time with God, starting with me saying to him, "Lord, I need this far more than any of my parishioners." Which is not to denigrate their need for joy or hope or forgiveness; it's merely a confession that I need all those things, too. I need Jesus. I need to be on the right side of him, and being smart or getting the pastoral work done or being polished in leading worship is no substitute for that. I need to be loved, I need to take his body and blood into me, I need to hear the message. And I don't have the luxury of being led by someone else; I've got to do it for me while I'm doing it for and with everybody else.

So, just a little extra time to admit my need and ask for strength and grace. And, for what it's worth, this year I was a little less rattled. I enjoyed the music -- prelude and other service music, solos, hymns. I heard the words of the Scripture, even as I read them. Then there were the people. Their love and good wishes struck me deeply, perhaps especially since I was a little more at peace than I often am on Christmas Eve. And, of course, there were my daughter and her family, who are always a joy to me to share worship with; but there were many others it was a joy to see and share the time with.

God is faithful. I feel a little stronger coming out than I did going in. I reckon I'll make it a bit longer. Jesus has promised to hold me up and get me all the way home. Only he can do that, and I'm counting on him for it.
aha

Christmas with Granny and Grandbear

We enjoyed the visit of Anna and Brian, Daniel and James. They arrived last Saturday and left this morning to visit Brian's mom in northern Indiana. We didn't do a whole lot. Played a little cards, cooked some good food. I took them to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center yesterday, where one big cat after another went into stalking mode as soon as it saw Daniel.

Anna sang the Sans Day Carol at our Christmas Eve service last night. I accompanied her on guitar. We used to do a lot of musical things together. It's been a long while. This morning, we were up betimes. I made sausage gravy and scratch biscuits and we opened presents.

All is now quiet. There's a nap in my future, I believe. Meanwhile, here are some pix of the grandcubs' visit.

Madonna and dinosaurs

Madonna and dinosaurs
Anna, Daniel, James

Granny and her cubs

Granny and her cubs
Deanne, James, Daniel

If I fits, I sits

If I fits, I sits
Lightning isn't little any more

Joined at the hip

Joined at the hip
Anna and James

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
Big kitty wants to make Daniel's acquaintance

Full load

Full load
Gifts under the tree

The only difference is size

The only difference is size
Daniel and Uncle Zach

Can't wait any longer

Can't wait any longer
Opening gifts

And this chair was Just Right

And this chair was Just Right
Daniel gets his own camping chair

Oh boy, it's a box!

Oh boy, it's a box!
James is less interested in the present that Brian is opening for him

Kitties like Christmas

Kitties like Christmas
Hera checks out everyone's stuff

Kill the wabbit!

Kill the wabbit!
Grandbear has lots of fun toys