As per usual, nothing goes off without a hitch around here. No major disasters on our part, but enough bumps in the road to keep it interesting.
In the only-a-minor-disaster department, we wound up junking out my little Geo. *sniff* We had been watching carefully, knowing it was on borrowed time, and wondering at what point the repairs would be too expensive to justify. When it developed the knock of death (on the way to my finals), we knew the time had come. Replacement parts for a 4-cylinder subcompact are hard to come by in the rural midwest, land of big-blocks and F-150s. So we've been doing the one-vehicle dance, while iPastor tinkers on the other van (E-150, of course), to press it back into service.
Saturday I worked at Job 1, where we wound up staying open a little longer to accommodate Christmas shoppers. When I called for pickup, the internet at home was down, meaning my Vonage phone service was also down. After calling the neighbor, with hopes of sending a kid to fetch someone at my house, I found out another neighbor was in town, so I arranged a carpool. The accumulated waiting and errand-running put me home two hours later than planned. We used some of that time at work to clean out Nina's collection jar, so I got to take a little bonus to her family, including a sucker and little notes put in by kids who read her information.
Meanwhile, back at home, our Christmas company had arrived. B is a friend from a group dating back to our more, um, intense, Trek fanhood. She has a similar situation to mine, in that her (half) blood siblings are considerably (20+ years) older than she. She is not particularly close to any of them, so she tends to spoil the kids in our little group instead. Things 1 and 2 were particularly excited to see her again, having spent a weekend on their own with her during their foray to Theatre Camp this summer. iPastor had started supper, and B had finished it up, so I came home to a hot meal and some good company just lazing around and passing the BS.
Sunday morning my bro and SIL called, asking about timetables. I hadn't been expecting them until Monday, but told 'em to head on over, the turkey was in the roaster. I went to church, ran Thing 1 to McD's, stopped at the Evil*Empire Stupid Center, then came home to wait for bro. And wait. We come from a line of terminal putzers, so I was not too surprised by tardiness, but felt a little guilty when they were dropped on my doorstep, having made it within 8 miles, only to unexpectedly drop the tranny in their Explorer. We shuttled back to collect the contents of the truck (which contained enough food for another complete Christmas dinner), then park it at a friend's in the little village where it conked out (once again affirming the rural/small town lifestyle) but wound up limping them home. We then commenced with dinner, having picked up said friend for dinner, and I rushed off to work, where I was not needed due to the turn in the weather, so I came home after collecting the McD Thing, and we flopped on the various couches and chairs to watch the stack of Christmas movies bro had brought, visit amonsgt the girls, and drink a little Christmas wine.
Yesterday, the mechanic (steady Job 1 customer) came with trailer in tow to collect the Explorer. We had a leisurely brunch of crockpot oatmeal and an awesome egg bake we invented on the spot with gluten-free bread. A weekend of paying attention to someone's gluten and corn-free diet really makes me thankful for relatively good health, and very aware of the grain-based ingredients that go into things you would never guess. Hot cocoa mix? Canned Cranberries? Gravy packets? All make sense when you think about it, but just fly under the radar most of the time. We commenced goodbye-ing as B headed home to regroup and head out to visit some of our other friends. We had an abbreviated gift opening so the Things could enjoy the stuff from Uncle and Aunt, then I packed them up for the trek back to South Dakota, so they could get their second car unparked and running. I drove home in a beautiful winter sunset and twilight, and we piled on the couch for more movies.
Today, I was up when iPastor got home from his night shift. He has been on a stretch of nights, so he has flitted in and out of the weekend's activities as his sleep schedule allows. I tucked him in, and soon the Things began waking and checking the stockings. When iPastor wakes, we will have our little family gift exchange, then we will do more lazing and movie-watching. Not a bad way to spend Christmas Day.
Somewhere along the line, church father's decided to celebrate Christmas at this time of year as an alternative and incentive for new converts to replace their pagan celebrations. The actual date of the Birth of Christ is lost to the ages, though speculation and guessing is a fun pastime. It does not matter what day we pick to mark the event, as long as we hold appreciation in our hearts for the very real and miraculous nature of that Birth. Families often choose this time to gather and celebrate, but once again, the date is not as important as the gathering and the loving purpose therefore. May your personal holiday be marked with joy and peace. Love your family, and keep Christ as the forefront of your celebration.
I leave you today with this adaptation of 1 Corinthians 13, read by one of my church family on Sunday. God Bless your Christmas!
Christmas 1 Corinthians 13 Style
- author unknown
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust ... but giving the gift of love will endure.