"Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ..."
I woke up this Christmas morning thinking about the splendor of the world he made. The wet deck outside our bedroom attested to nighttime rain. The wind whipped through the 20' fir boughs beyond. I could hear the clanging of my new wind chimes (hear them at audio via the link), hanging by the enclosed atrium W built this fall.
It's a quiet Christmas, begun by a long walk with the dogs. In the kitchen to complete clean-up of Christmas Eve celebrations, I was overcome with God's provisions. We often thank God for Jesus Christ our Lord, born as a baby, dying for our sins on the cross.
This morning I thought about the years between Jesus' birth and death. Mary cooking breakfast and Joseph headed to his work, Jesus at his heels. The years of routines, like annual temple visits, synagogue lessons, and scripture memorization. Sitting around the table with relatives. Doing chores so the family could eat.
How blessed we are to have traditions and wealth - food, clothing, shelter in abundance - from God's hands. Our living room is still upside down while we wait for our daughter to wake. The built-in vacuum howls under the guest room: better let her sleep in after the excitement of 25 guests. Our family came for lunch and an adoption celebration (for a nephew, photo above). W's family joined us for turkey dinner.
A few months ago, I met a lovely Swiss couple walking in the neighborhood. We were tickled to have them, 2-yr-old Maurin, and baby Giana-Maria at our tables. Maurin pounded the piano's bass notes as we sang carols (boom boom, our own little drummer boy!) Dominic and Regina played a few carols on their trombones, to the delight of all. We made it all the way through the first verse of Stille Nacht and got lost in the words on the second verse.
The grandmas had brought their offerings of cake and cookies, while our dear daughters-in-love brought home-baked fudge and pumpkin cheesecake. I'd prepped most of the food the day before, and the tables were in place from Monday's NU faculty event. The day ran smoothly.
Sure, our sofas are still in the atrium, the last load of dishes in in the dishwasher, pots and turkey roaster are drying in the oven. I'm not quite through the post-celebration reordering, though W already put away two extra tables and the stacking chairs.
We have no plans but "rest" and "gratefulness" today. I'm staggered by the things our culture takes for granted. We have more than enough... of everything.
To know that we have salvation, grace, and peace from God as well? I am simply overwhelmed with thanksgiving to our Savior on this Christmas morning.
*Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:4-7 NKJV
*For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 NIV