Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Days of rest

Well, the Baby came safely again, as He does every year. Walking to my car after Midnight Mass, I looked at the stars and was overcome by a feeling of peace. Arriving back home, I sat up reading for awhile, reveling in the darkness and solitude (and, I must admit, waiting for the kids to turn up from their evening activities, none of which, I assure you, included church in any form!). This feeling persisted all through Christmas Day. We had a smallish Christmas this year -- a couple small gifts for each person to open, but mainly gift cards for the adult children. I thought this scaled-down gift-giving would occasion cries of protest, but the kids seem to appreciate that we can no longer predict their taste in anything, and that they will encounter huge sales on the day after Christmas. I particularly emphasized the huge sales aspect.

Working in academia means that, most years, I am off work between Christmas and New Year's Day. Yesterday and today, I have been capable of nothing creative -- I have watched movies, fed birds, played with my dogs, nibbled away at the leavings of the prime rib and spinach casserole, and continued to slog my way through that new biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer which has occupied me, off and on, for weeks. I am so relaxed that I can sit in my chair and nearly feel myself floating away. Good thing the window is closed! I woke up this morning feeling somewhat odd; then I realized I was feeling the sense of well-being that comes with getting adequate sleep!

I appreciate and thank God for this period of respite. In earlier years, I never appreciated rest. Now I see how vital it is, and I suspect that most Americans don't get nearly enough. I used to be one of those people who sacrificed vacation days at the end of the year, claiming that I had no time to be off. How silly I was! Now I claim every second I have coming to me. Why did I think rest was not important?

Thank you, Lord, for this post-Christmas rest, refreshing me for Your service in the new year!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Slouching towards Bethlehem

Our service of Lessons and Carols took place last night at church -- a lovely event, even though it is unseasonably warm here, and I had perspiration running down between my shoulder blades as I was singing! Not very Christmassy. The firewood rack on my porch is completely filled, but we have not really had cold enough weather to suggest a fire. I feel really silly having a fire with all the windows open!

And so we creak along into the last week of Advent. All my women friends are practically dead on their feet. I accomplished nothing this weekend. Friday was the eleventh anniversary of my mother's death, which I tend to brood about more than I should after eleven years. And so this week I will have to make up for lost time.

Is it January yet?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Taking a breath ....

We're having unseasonably warm weather here in the East, and it does detract a bit from the season. Who feels like baking when it's 60 degrees and the windows are open? I don't feel much like baking under even the best of conditions ...

I'm doing a duet ("Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring") on Sunday with one of our sopranos, and my poor piano is so out of tune that I have had trouble plunking it out. One New Year's resolution will be to get the poor thing tuned. At least that's easier than losing weight!

Presents: bought but not wrapped. I cut back considerably from previous years. Gift cards are just fine, especially for adult children. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I actually got half a llama one Christmas, through the Heifer Project, and I loved knowing that what would have been a present was used to help someone in need -- but I doubt that the kids would really appreciate a flock of chickens, or a cow. I would never hear the end of it.

But right now I'm taking a break, and toddling off to say Evening Prayer (a little late).

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The tree is up, but ...

We finished trimming the Christmas tree last night. The "theme" this year is red and gold (Why? I don't like warm colors, generally). The boxes of decorations are restowed in the basement. But I still don't have any Christmas spirit.

I have been known to say that I would love to sleep from the day after Thanksgiving until January 2! Hustle and bustle just wear me out. I went by our local mall last weekend, just to "put my toe in the water," saw that the parking lot was completely full, and decided to buy everything online. I hate crowds!

I wonder ... Would Jesus recognize the fact that we are celebrating His birthday? As we wallow in consumerism, do we just postpone Him for consideration only in the Midnight Mass? Reading an Advent book helps to keep me focused. But, at the bottom, it's largely emptiness that I feel in Advent.

But I suppose our emptiness is why He came, isn't it?