Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Second Day of Christmas

Last night, at church, we had a roast beef dinner and Christmas-Advent party for the kids.  The room was lined with Christmas trees, lighted and sweet as a peppermint.  After Christmas last year, our leaders asked that if anybody had an artificial tree they wanted to download if they would bring it to church.  Lots of people did that and some of the trees were large enough it took two people to carry them.

So now there are Christmas trees in every nook of the church.  There must be twenty in the worship center, alone, brilliant in a glow of little white lights.  So charming.  It was fun to see the little kids interacting with their parents while they were decorating Christmas cookies, singing at a bonfire—in 17-degree weather, and making beautiful advent calendars.  Some kids were pretty slap-dash about the task; others were the sheerest artists.  

Our maintenance guys are going to be scooping up glitter for  a month.

I talked to Bob for awhile.  He'd lost his wife in the last year and was facing down their first Christmas apart.  He and his children were doing something brilliant, traveling to Mexico, sans too many presents, creating new traditions, new celebrations.  He was hopeful, sturdy of spirit, infused with a little bit of grace.  I'm guessing that as rough as it might be, the whole blessed family will come through suffused with strength and light.  Exactly what a father should be doing, leading his children along long and difficult paths.

Then I got hugs from Charlie, one of the little boys I loved from Vacation Bible School.  We hadn't had a lot of time to talk for a while.  Charlie is driven by extraordinary energy levels. One of his blessings is being in a school well prepared for his kind of issues and that takes him seriously exactly as he is.  Charlie explained to me the math that is rolled up in square roots, that he loves math, and, I'm guessing here, very soon science, being about eight years old, a third grader.  He is the sweetest little guy, guided by ever so vigilant Mom and Dad.  They have two other kids, and they are both gifted children.  There are lots of parents here that are fully engaged with their children, teaching, revealing the big truths, being present and accounted for.

Life turns out to be really hard work for some people.

Christmas is getting more poignant by the second.

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