Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Last Day of Christmas
So, there's a lunacy, a luxury about.
I was combing Obi's luxurious coat, trying to pry out some mats. He was through with it before I was. So he grabbed the metal comb in his little paws, and then sat on the comb so I couldn't get to it. He took it away from me and hid it. There's always more to animals than you think.
So church stuff. I made cookies for different groups of people, and took them to the early service this week. Lilly came and sat with me, and saw the bag and the small bags within that were filled with Christmas cookies. Lilly and her sister Lea are two kids who have come with challenges, and it's plain hard work for them just to grow up. Lea is a creative genius, and Lilly is a endlessly curious, high energy kid. They've adopted our buddy Tim as their God-father, and Tim adopted them right back. Lilly was looking for Tim. When she saw the cookies, she asked me if there were any cookies in there for Lea and her. She asked with that tiny whisper that kids use when they are entirely unsure. I pulled out a bag and a card, with their grandma's and their names' on it. Lilly carefully read the card, gave me a Christmas hug, and then quick, like a bunny, was off to share the bag with her family. Grandma said her face was covered in joy, that someone had remembered them at Christmas.
You just never know what small acts of kindness might be important.
I was at the Christmas eve service and was trying to help with some necessary tasks. (I don't know how helpful I was; I spilled coffee all over the computer and a whole stack of bulletins.) Anyways, I was talking to the task leader, Kelly, a young mom with two little kids and a brilliant husband, whom we are very fond of. Kelly was decked in a slinky black dress with some amount of cleavage, bright red lipstick, and beautifully done hair. I told her how pretty and how saucy she looked. She gave me a big wink and whispered, "That's what I was going for. The sexy elf look."
So, the Christmas eve service, the early shift, the 2:00 p.m. the first of seven services. It's always a beautiful service, with our liveliest singers, everybody dressed in red, somewhere, somehow. About 200 people. Toward the end of the service, when the lights go down and the candles are lit, in comes the Holy Family. I don't notice them until they are past me. To my great surprise, Baby Jesus is a real baby. An even bigger surprise, who the child was, and who the parents are. Three or four years ago, I made friends with two high school girls. One of those kids is in college, with sterling grades. The other girl fell in love, was inseparable from her young boyfriend. As you might predict, there was an early pregnancy, and this is the mom, the boyfriend, and the baby. They might have married, or they might have not. They are still really young. But those two young people are devoted parents, very clear about what they know, and what they don't. They both are extremely attentive, proud parents, and the child is flourishing, clearly in love with both mom and dad. After the service, another young mom is looking for help, although this one is married, with some money, a gorgeous young woman. She says she is part of the Holy Family for the next service. She and her husband have adopted a baby. There is a chance that the child is of a different race than the parents. It seemed to me that when we talked, she was expecting a foreign child.
Every family is a Holy Family, no matter; and every child is to be loved, adored, protected.
A little Christmas Christmas. I am a fine cookie cooker, and I was passing out bags of cookies for sharing. I had a bag for Cousin Julie, so she could offer cookies to her guests. I slipped her bag of cookies between us on the seats. And then they flat-out disappeared from planet Earth. Gone. If I hadn't shown them to Julie minutes before, I would have thought I was losing my mind. People behind us looked. No cookies. That was exceedingly odd. Then Julie cracked the case: One of our homeless men that Julie recognized had been sitting in the seat behind us. He vanished, along with the cookies. The cookies probably slipped out between the seats, the chairs are constructed so that could easily happen, and literally landed on his feet. Can you imagine what that was like? Being so danged hungry and cold you can't see straight and then having Christmas cookies fall on your feet? At church?
That pretty much seems like a Christmas miracle.
And my family. My beauteous niece and nephew are home for now, brilliant kids both. Grandma Rita and Cousin Julie are cancer survivors. Julie had another scare this fall (that turned out fine) and Grandma Rita completed her treatments a few months ago. Steve and Maggie, my brother and sister-in-law, have a beautiful home, and the smells of the season are perfuming the house. It is the Christmas that everybody wants: a family that gets along, that actually likes each other; presents that are worthy but not over-done, a big beautiful tree, kids you are proud of, kids who are kind, hard-working, and gorgeous. It's an easy, companionable evening, sweet and deeply loving, grateful and warm.
And that is entirely enough.