Wednesday, I picked up my friend for her meeting with our priest. Wednesday was one of those days when hardly anything went right, but this did. She met with him in his office, while I waited in the church (a blessed hour for me, for sure) He answered all of her questions, she said what she needed to say. He was kind and wise (as he always is) and in about an hour, nearly 40 years of "stuff" was washed away. She said he did not talk down to her, he did not question or fuss (I had told her he wouldn't, but...). Thank you for holy, humble priests who make time for this wonderful sacrament. As we left, he was knocking on the door to the office of another priest who has an office on our parish property. His turn at confession, she said. Yep, priests go, too. Preparing for Christmas.
Our first Christmas in our new house!! Finally I have a house that I can decorate!! But I had no decorations. I was beginning to imagine that our neighbors thought we were Jewish or something. Bought this ^ yesterday at Lowe's. It was relatively inexpensive. I think there are 2 categories of people - those who like white lights and those who like the colors. We are color lights people!
The tree is from the "old house". As a matter of fact it was still in the shed there, and that was one of my things on Wednesday morning - extracting it. It took up way too much square footage in the old house, but it looks quite inadequate here. Part of it broke as we were putting it up. Thank you to my younger child for taking care of the tree-putting-up duties.
We decorate to make things special for the one who is going to visit, the good Father says. We need to make sure we do as much "decorating" on the inside (in our souls) as we do on the outside. But perhaps that was an idea that was better suited for earlier in Advent. It is kind of lost on some members of my family. Sometimes I feel like the voice of one calling out in the desert. Other times, I remind myself that even Jesus wasn't accepted among his people. I mentioned to my little family the other night that Father was hearing confessions that evening from 6:30 to 7:30. I had no takers, just a sarcastic comment. (sigh) I forget that I live among saints sometimes. (Oops...would that be sarcsasm?)
Waiting for the One who is to come. I am so thrilled to have room to set up things this year. The side view (below). Those who have yet to arrive on the scene.
When we moved, one thing that we had in spades was wrapping paper. We would buy it, not use it, and then by the next year, could not find it, or it was buried under whatever. It was like an archaeological dig. I may never have to buy wrapping paper again. Especially if the world ends next year before Christmas. What's the date? December 21, 2012?? I don't keep up with that stuff.
We had a lot of Christmas lights, too. Not sure what happened to them. Maybe we didn't bring them? Maybe they are still in the shed. For whatever reason, the tree was half-lighted.
But we fixed that. I had bought 2 of the garland thingies from Lowes - having no clue how much it would take for the bannister. The second one became tree lights.
I have wrapped some of the presents (in vintage wrapping paper, no less). Is it ironic that the first present under our tree is from my stepson's mother? Probably so. My stepson is coming in from out of town today with his wife and (6) children. Most of them are staying at his mom's house (our old house), so we are dropping off some cots over there later today. It is nice to have a relationship that is not full of mistrust and animosity, but it wasn't always that way. That is why the Prince of Peace humbled Himself to come into our midst.
This morning after 6:30 Mass, we decorated our church - a friend and I, and the good Monsignor. This was 2 1/2 hours of a labor of love. We brought the flowers and the nativity figures in from the parish hall and got the wreaths and other decor out of the attic above the sacristy. Curves was closed today, but I got my workout in, I assure you! Monsignor took care of the sanctuary, my friend and I took care of the rest of the church. It was our third year, and this year, it worked out well. We all knew what needed to be done. "Enough, but not too much," was the consensus. He says that is how you know when decorating is well-done.
The choir loft. That gold thing took more time than it should have to attach (with ducT tape and velcro).
A wreath underneath each station of the cross.
There were new decorations for the window sills this year. Two years ago, we put spray-painted pine cones there. All throughout Mass, you heard the sounds of pine cones hitting the floor. At the end of Mass, in the back corner near the cry room, was a little pile of pine cones. I pointed that out to our priest, and we shared a laugh. Last year, we skipped the pine cones. This year, a parishioner made these arrangements for the window sills. Very nice!
And when we were done, there was a beautiful poinsettia for each of us from our pastor. "Extras," I asked? (Was that a dumb question?) "No, by design," he quietly said. It is so nice to be appreciated! And I had just the spot for it!
And so it is almost upon us. In all of the buying and wrapping and decorating....let us not lose sight of Who's birthday it is and what we are celebrating. May our preparations point the way to Jesus, who loved us enough to become one of us!
Not sure if I'll be back here before Christmas, but if I'm not....a joyful, peaceful, safe Christmas to all of you and yours!