Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Moments

We're all wrapped and baked and decorated around here. We might bake some more today, just for fun, and so that Dan gets his Magic Cookie Bars. Tomorrow evening we'll have some of my family over and on Christmas Day we're going to Dan's brother's house to spend the day with his side of the family. We'll do my family's "big celebration" on New Year's Day at my dad's house. It just makes more sense for my brothers who have to travel to get here and for the one who is delivering packages along with Santa until the wee hours on Christmas Eve.

Last night, I met some girlfriends for dinner. The small, cozy restaurant was packed when we got there, and by the time we had finished dinner, exchanged gifts and talked for a couple hours, there were only a few tables still occupied. As we got up to put on our coats, a little boy about 5 years old, ran up to one of the windows to peer out, then turned and called out to the few groups left in the restaurant, "Look! It's snowing!" Big flakes were coming down outside the window which was framed in chintz curtains. We walked out into the snow with all the other late night diners, and it was so festive and perfect and like the final scene in White Christmas.

Late last night, Emily and I stayed up to watch a Christmas movie until neither of us could keep our eyes open any longer. Thank goodness for technology. We decided to just "record the rest" and we'll catch it later today.

My 16-year-old did his Christmas shopping at the mall on Tuesday. I received a few phone calls during his two hour excursion, for questions like, "Does Joe have a . . . " and "Do you think Dad would like. . . " Then he came home, wrapped everything up and had it under the tree in about 30 minutes. I wish I could be as efficient in my shopping!

My 20-year old suggested we save a few gifts to open the day after Christmas. Hmmm. He's making all of his gifts this year and has been squirreled away in his room the last couple nights.

Yesterday, I was out running errands and stopped at the church for a breather. The building was especially quiet since the school kids are on break. A janitor worked quietly in the back of the church as I sat for a few minutes in the silence, in front of the creche, the manger empty and waiting for the arrival of the Christ child figure that will be placed there at the Christmas Eve children's mass.

One of my favorite moments of Christmas is singing the final hymn at Christmas Day mass, Joy to the World. It always brings tears to my eyes. The quiet, empty church yesterday was a sharp contrast to the fullness of a Christmas Day mass. Yet it fills me just the same. The soft glow of vigil prayer candles and the glow of the eucharist candle, indicating that the True Presence is in the tabernacle. The church is decked out in evergreen and pointsettias, the wood pews polished and shined, everything at its best for Christmas. In contrast, I feel a bit tired and bedraggled, worn and weary, rushing about trying to get every little detail in place for the big day. How comforting to come to this quiet refuge, in all my imperfection, and know that He welcomes me just as I am. It's humbling.

Merry Christmas to all of my blogging friends and those who read this blog. May you all be blessed this Christmas and in the new year!


Lynne said...

Karen - Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas.

Inglesidemom said...

I loved your description of the sanctuary and its peacefulness. Reminded me of Father Tim in Mitford.

I pray you have a joyful Christmas with your family and those Majic Cookie Bars that I am certain you will post the recipe for after the holidays...

Your blogging Kindred Spirit ~

P.S. I will be certain to post a much better picture of me soon. One without a dish towel on my head!

Country Dreaming said...

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Susanne said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Karen! May you have a wonderful holiday and make many special memories with your family!

Jen said...

I love the fact you went into church and pause a moment. I too do this when I need to be quiet. Its so humbling. I'm wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas dear friend!

Brittanie said...

What are magic cookie bars? My aunt did most of the baking this year without me but I did eat lots of homemade gingerbread and sugar cookies. :)

Merry Christmas.

Linda said...

I can feel the peace and sanctuary that you must have felt as you sat in your church yesterday. Blessings to you and yours as we celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Other Sis said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family, Karen!

Sarah said...

I love that you stopped by the church - what a perfect "breather" and a wonderful time of reflection.

Merry Christmas! Hope you had a wonderful family day!

Sherri said...

Karen, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family!!

diana said...

wasn't the snow beautiful? (check out my most recent post - pics of snowflakes) i'm so glad we had a white Christmas. family from California wanted to have one and they weren't disappointed.

i loved your description of your time in your church. i can imagine sitting there in the peace and quiet, reflecting on the season. what a special time.

Robin said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you too friend! Your post was beautiful and I'm glad you found so much meaning in your church visit. It sounded wonderful!