Things are very quiet right now Chez Mibi. StrongOpinions will get here around 9 tonight, if the pending rainstorm doesn't delay her train. The morning has been the most blissful sort of gift.
Last night I presided at the 5 pm Christmas Even service of Carols, Candlelight and Communion at Saint Middle School. Lovely turnout - the auditorium was quite full - with many new families there. I hope some of them will return in the coming weeks.
I was blessed with the beautiful white and gold chasuble and stole (see below) the parish commissioned for me, from our parishioner Gifted Seamstress, who has her own small business/ministry in vestments and paraments. The Children's Sermon featured Jacob the shepherd boy, played by a young boy with that name who hammed it up delightfully. The adult sermon is below...on days like Christmas, I like to do a story sermon in the tradition (though without the great gifts) of Frederick Buechner,and this one followed that model.
We had a fairly tight schedule after that service to go to PH's church's 10 pm service of Lessons and Carols. So we stopped to grab a quick bite (I had had grand plans of making us a picnic basket to consume in the 35 mile drive from one place to the other, but that didn't happen). Perhaps our new tradition may be Christmas Eve...
..wait for it...
Perfect! Protein, light, didn't get in the way of the need to be able to sing for the late service, and the wasabi cleared the sinuses a bit.
PH's little church had maybe 40 attending. Very intimate, very lovely in its way. I had been asked to sing "O Holy Night" - a delight to be able to sing a solo now that I'm ordained and serving elsewhere. It was over by 11:30, and we got home again in time to share a midnight Christmas kiss and fall soundly asleep.
So this morning (Saint Middle School doesn't have a Christmas morning service), PH and I slept in until 8 a.m., almost high noon in our world, then enjoyed a cup of coffee and tea, respectively, and went for a long walk through the still-snow-covered neighborhood. PH made us some bacon and eggs, and now we just are relaxing. We've decided to hold off on opening presents until StrongOpinions gets here.
But we have ever-present gifts that we enjoy - children who are doing well, each in their own way, relatively good health, work that we both love, extended family who are a joy, two neurotic cats who provide us much entertainment, books, food, a roof overhead...we are blessed.
Blessed most of all, of course, in the gift of the One whose birth we celebrate today, in his saving grace and love for us because of and despite of who and how we are.
Anything under the tree, lovely as it might be, is secondary to that.