Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Will Christmas Be Canceled?

The impending storm is causing a few jitters for those of us here in Omaha and, quite likely, for many of you in other parts of the country. But we're still hopeful that travel will be do-able here in the area and our plans for our traditional Christmas Eve breakfast down in Lincoln and our Christmas Day dinner here (with, at last count, 12 guests) will be realized.

So far, it's been a very pleasant Christmas season and with Claire and I celebrating through Epiphany, we're just getting started!

We've only had three dinner parties so far. That's down a bit from recent years but we will be making up for our slow start by increasing the number of parties we throw in the 12 Days of Christmas. People seem to prefer that -- less pressure, more time. We've also watched several Christmas movies, read Christmas books and poetry, listened to carols, and decorated our house and Mom's room at the nursing home.

We've had nice times with Mom talking about Christmas, reading poems and short stories, and giving her brief recaps of my Advent-oriented sermons. We had an especially sweet time at a Christmas tea the staff put together last Thursday evening. Yesterday we were there to visit and bring her 55 large candy bars which she is using for Christmas gifts to friends and staff.

Claire and I were also able to have a delightful time yesterday with Quint and Carol Coppi: a superb lunch at Kona Grill, a gift exchange, and great conversation. We also spent time with a lady from our church who has recently moved to an assisted living home. It's a very nice place and she really needs the attention, security and medical oversight they provide. But that doesn't mean she accepts those facts! So our time there was partly assurance, partly encouragement, and partly distraction. And, because she complained of not getting to church, she too got a re-cap of Sunday's Christmas-themed sermon! Be careful what you ask.

Finally, we also hit the stores to be fully prepared for our scheduled Christmas activities: cookie decorating items, all the fixings for ice cream sundaes, several side dishes, and chicken to go with the ham -- most of our dinner guests will be from Burkina Faso and they love Claire's chicken. We also stocked up on those items we'll need if the storm socks us in: extra coffee, gasoline and a new spark plug for the snowblower, ice melt for the driveway, etc.

So yes; we're ready for whichever Christmas fate befalls us. But, as to Christmas being canceled? No way. Our individual circumstances can certainly be altered, postponed and maybe even called off altogether. But Christmas itself is too precious, too universal, too critically-necessary for the world to ever be canceled.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us."

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luke 2:8-20 KJV)