Monday, December 26, 2011

Promises fulfilled...

It's Boxing Day, the day after Christmas Day. Another year with the  hoopla of buying and wrapping gifts, rearranging and cleaning, cooking and serving the feast (or feasts, for some). What a wonderful reminder of God's promises, kept through Jesus our Lord.

One year, we gave our children a gift on Christmas Eve, another Christmas Day, and one for each of the 12 Orthodox Days of Christmas. That Christmas lasted a long time. (We did that once. When I was young. And had energy to burn!)

This year, our celebration with family filled Christmas Eve. The kids gave me my gifts early, as requested: dozens of little serving dishes. Our square bamboo plates corralled individual servings of traditional and new foods.

Everyone had to pitch in this year. Jonathan helped more than I can remember any of our kids doing, including baking fresh pretzels and rye bread. Yum yum. W smoked a 20 lb turkey - especially delicious ... an indulgence for me (mostly vegan). The grandmas baked and brought delicious cookies and Nanaimo bars. Veges, breads, desserts... a feast medieval kings couldn't have imagined.

W "shops" electronics all year. Our kids choose numbers to pick unwrapped presents from a lotto-box... this year included remote helicopters, an IPod Shuffle, cables and LED flashlights, earbuds, and who knows what else. Since I have not shopped, the stockings were a bit bare. (Yay for super-Santa and his loot!)

Family and friends from Canada and the US joined us. We all like each other and get along, so holidays are full of laughter, memories, and love. What fun it is to see the next generation of little kids come into the circle, getting to know Grandmama and Grandpapa (great-grandparents). W brought our daughter Kirsten home for the day from skilled-nursing care. (Her recovery is on track; she comes home today after almost 3 weeks in hospital and post-surgery care.) We missed one brother and his family in Switzerland and Germany and nieces in Winnipeg and California (love you!)

We traditionally read the Christmas story in 11 parts and sing a matching carol between readings. We randomly pass out scripts, and then read them in chronological order. One of the little guys hopped on my lap to pound out his version of the carols on the piano as I accompanied the singing. [If you'd like a copy of the readings&carols, send a request to]

Like last year, some attendees had never experienced a big family Christmas where everyone gets along. Hopefully, they'll have ideas for recreating Christmas for their own families in years to come.

Phone calls that don't come as promised, money that disappears, and offers of help that don't materialize. They're all part of our human experience. Unlike promises we make and break to each other, God never reneges on what he offers us. Though we don't experience perfect healing, trouble-free relationships, or painless negotiations through life, He remains constant.

Christmas is proof of God's love and faithfulness, a Savior given at the right time for the salvation of humanity. Have you experienced the joy of that encompassing love? If not, I'd love to introduce you to the faithful One.

Read more:
*And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  So he came by the Spirit into the temple.

And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” Luke 2:25-32 NKJV

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