Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Joy to the world! The Lord is come

Did it work for you? Did you wake up on the 4th Sunday of Advent and suddenly realize that the energy was shifting? It was right around Saturday when I began to see the Light at the end of the darkness.

A plan had been percolating in my head: We'd decorate the tree on Christmas eve. I bought a beautiful wooden Nativity set from Guatemala, complete with three cows, three kings and a baby Jesus as big as a cow. The children would unwrap it and set it on the mantle. My brother, mom and friends Tom and Donna were coming over to eat appetizers and light the 4 Advent candles and the wonderfully cheesy votive candle with the picture of the Holy Family I bought in the Spanish section of the grocery store.

It all went as planned. I cooked appetizers and baked cookies all day. Nguyen took a rare day off and helped clean the house and get ready. He chopped cabbage and carrots and wood ear mushrooms for his famously delicious egg rolls. The kids pulled out the boxes of decorations and spent the day stringing lights and hanging ornaments. In the end we had a tree with colored lights on the bottom, white lights on top, and no ornaments above 5 feet up. It turned out to be the most beautiful tree we have ever had.

I went, alone, the 2:00 service at Grace while Nguyen and the kids finished getting the house ready. It was quiet and beautiful. Fr. Rich preached a wonderful, heartfelt sermon that made me cry.

My plan of all appetizers was a hit! The food was delicious and simple. Before we dug in, I read a prayer I wrote. (Inexplicably, I couldn't find my Book of Common Prayer.)

It was a relaxed, funny, joyful and loving evening.

On Christmas morning, Nguyen got up and said "I feel like going to church." and since I was waiting for my family to come back, he went alone.

When my brother arrived, he asked where Nguyen was.

"At church", I said.



And suddenly, something shifted for my brother. Later he joked about it, calling Nguyen "Bible Boy" and worrying that my husband will try and evangelize him. In all his bluster, though, I know that he was pondering this new turn of events.

Later, when my mom arrived, we made a fabulous breakfast and had a wonderful conversation about religion, politics and just about everything else you aren't supposed to talk about. As I drove my mother to the airport, she said "that conversation was my Christmas wish. That we would all talk and listen and enjoy each other's company."

Seems like maybe we all got our wishes this year.

Praise to you, Lord Christ. Glory to you, Lord Christ.


Nancy said...

What a wonderful Christmas Rachel!
May the coming year be filled with happy times for you and yours.
I look forward to reading about your trip!

Mary Beth said...

Love it! Love it! Love it!

God is so gracious!