Saturday, December 19, 2009

the christmas squirrel!

every year we get the girls little advent calendars... the kind with a "chocolate" surprise behind the little folding door for every day of december, counting down to christmas eve. (i was shocked to hear that this is not a big thing around here! they are a christmas staple from my childhood!)

on thursday, meg was at breakfast, opening her little door. we always guess what festive symbol it will be... and as she popped it out of it's plastic form, she looked at me oddly. this is what followed.

meg: "it's a ... squirrel."

me: "no - it can't be a squirrel."

meg: "it's a squirrel. look."

me: "huh. it's obviously the traditional christmas squirrel! surely you've heard the beautiful fable of the festive christmas squirrel!"

meg: (pause. carefully replaces the squirrel into it's door.) "i reject the squirrel."


Monday, December 14, 2009

the cold

it was - 38 in stony plain last night... that would be the small town we left to come to durham. and that is a core reason why i never want to live there again. (hallelujah for permanent residency!) my s-i-l just tried to counter that with several happy christmas memories ... and she's right, there are many lovely memories... family joy mixed with chaos christmas day with the mulders, more little girls than you could shake a stick at, a roaring fire in the fireplace and my m-i-l's stunning christmas feast. we do have a lot of beautiful memories.


have you ever had to let your car run for FOURTY-FIVE MINUTES just to get it to blow warm out of the vents?

have you ever had your eyelashes and nostrils freeze solid in the space of time it takes you to get from the parking lot to the grocery store?

have you ever had to move a space heater from room to room with you because the blasting cold air seeps through every space in your home?

have you ever lived on a day so cold they cancelled school because the buses couldn't start?

those memories trump the festive ones, in so far as determining where i want to live my life. where i would celebrate my holidays is a different question entirely.... as long as i get to come home when they are done! :)

(i have actually looked like the person in this photograph. much to my sorrow!)

frederick again...

“Those who believe in God can never, in a way, be sure of Him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of man… And this means that we are not safe, that there is no place where we can hide from God, no place where we are safe from his power to break into and recreate the human heart because it is where he seems most helpless that he is most strong and just where we least expect Him that he comes most fully.” - Frederick Beuchner

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

happy christmas!

happy christmas, everyone. truly.

perhaps we should hold on a little longer to our thankgiving-ness as we head into christmas. all the gratitude for the beauty, relationships & varied richness of our lives should make us appreciate the depth of christmas a little more. it should make us a little less about what's under the tree and a little more about Who's in the manger. it should give us grace for fellow parking lot circlers, tired store clerks & hassled line-waiters.

i look around my life, and i know that i don't need anything for christmas. every gift will be pure gift... pure grace. so i want to extend that to my people, and all the people whose paths i will cross this season. i want to offer them grace, whether it be in a gift under the tree or the gift of a smile or patience or letting someone else take the "good" parking spot.

Jesus is crazy, extravagant love... love that looks out for the other. so i am going to try to look out for the other this christmas, in whatever small ways i can. i hope you do, too. we can be joy bringers, in some way participating with the shepherds spilling over with Good News.

so, really, happy christmas. may you experience something that goes deeper than "merry"... the grace of joy.