White Christmas

The week before Christmas we went to the joint handbell-choir Christmas party. What a blast! The music director’s house was full of musicians, delicious food, and good wine. Then someone brought out the crazy hats…

Ariel and Nicole got run over by a reindeer

Christmas Eve brought snow, but we battled our way through it to the 11:00 service. The prelude music started at 10:30 and included a couple of fantastic handbell pieces and a solo by my dear husband. There were a couple stumbles but after all we weren’t there just to play or listen to beautiful music… We were there to remember the ultimate gift, Christ humbling himself to come to earth and be a human in order to pay our debt. We tolled in Christmas Day, put the bells up, and dragged ourselves home to bed in the wee hours – but for all the right reasons!

I remember my mom taking me to a midnight service at a Lutheran church when we lived in Texas (we were Bible church people so it was a change of pace). There was something thrilling about the tradition and ritual and of course staying up late. It seemed so special, so sacred, going out into the cold, dark night, just as Jesus brought his light into the cold, dark world. I’m glad the handbells play at the late service.

On Christmas morning, Chris made us a tasty breakfast and we Facetimed with my family while we opened our wonderful, thoughtful presents from family and friends. Then I got the best present from my job… the afternoon off!!! We spent it walking the dogs, clearing the driveway with our new electric snowblower, and making mac ‘n cheese to share with our friends the Hills. We had a feast with our friends… chicken, stuffing, mac ‘n cheese, salad, and apple pie for dessert. Sooo good! We also played one of our Christmas presents, the fantastic game Citadels.

So here’s the picture of us looking nice and Christmas-y, but you can’t really see the dog. He’s black so he blends right in. Here is the picture with flash:

Doesn’t the dog look like a robot?!!!

Anyway, we had a very merry Christmas… even though family were far away, we were able to celebrate with them through technology and the power of UPS. I hope the rest of you had a very merry Christmas!


‘Tis the Season

January has come early this year, or I have selectively edited out the fact that December is COLD. It seems like just yesterday I was walking the dogs in sweat pants, and now I have to wear snow pants over the top. I just had an experience the other night that was very similar to Jack London’s story “To Light a Fire” except I was trying to pick up poo off my neighbor’s lawn. For the life of me I could not get the little plastic bag open! I had to go home, thaw my fingers, and return to pick it up! 

It’s cold but beautiful, with the bright glow of Christmas lights on the snow. We don’t have any Christmas lights… we haven’t even managed a tree yet this year!!… but we’re working on it. I got the Nativity scene up anyway. However, I have done some shopping, and I’ve been to several Christmassy events. For example, a MFC Girl’s Night Out in which we drank hot cocoa and played the 3 Favorite Things game (everyone brings 3 favorite things for less than $6 and goes home with 3 new favorite things!) And this weekend on another of Chris’s rare days off we went to Wabasha’s Old Fashioned Christmas.

Wabasha is one of our favorite towns. First we went to a church bazaar where I got a fantastic green scarf. Then we went to the Flour Mill, a delicious pizzeria where we always get the “fennel fig and pig” pizza –  sweet fig, spicy fennel, a hint of basil, and savory prosciutto, served with a side of an amazing view of the river!!! The adjoining chocolate shop happened to have a wine, port, and chocolate tasting so of course we sampled those and bought some of their amazing turtles. Then we wandered over to the Book Cliffs, the local used book store, and found some gems. We came back to the Flour Mill for one more glass of wine. On our way out, we stopped by a new massage parlor that’s opening that offered free coffee. If I were into massages, I would love one at this place… again, stellar view!

Then we met up with some friends to wrap Christmas presents for a little family they had adopted for Christmas. At deacons last week, someone read a devotional with a line to the effect of: “Imagine it’s your birthday but everyone gives presents to each other, not to you. That’s Christmas.” What are we giving Jesus? How are we honoring him?

Something to think about this week as we work on Christmas presents, Christmas decorating, and Christmas parties!