Note to self: Walmart does not carry sympathy cards that appropriately say, “I’m so sorry your 2-month-old son died.” However, if you want to send a card filled with shallow spirituality, you can most certainly find one at Walmart.
Today is the start of the Christmas season. Despite my husband and I not being able to celebrate Christmas with our families today or tomorrow, we still find great joy in celebrating Christ’s birth.
Of the Father’s Love Begotten
Of the Father’s love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore.
Oh, that birth forever blessed,
When the virgin full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bore the Savior of our race,
And the babe the, world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.
This is He whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord,
Whom the voices of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the long expected;
Let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.
O ye heights of heav’n, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing.
Pow’rs, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Ev’ry voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.
Christ, to Thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore. Amen.
P.S.–So my mother doesn’t get mad at me for talking about Christmas on Christmas Eve, a very happy 60th birthday to her!
Today’s the day, the day I try to return to church. I haven’t attended a church service in two months but I’m desperate to attend the Christmas services. So here I am on December 23 trying to pull myself together to face what I’ve been fearing for eight weeks.
Granted, somethings are better now than they were two months ago. I’m on medication to help my brain function at a normal level. The pastor is aware of how painful this move has been for me. I’m seeing a counselor who is working with me to accept my anxiety (I’m still incredulous about this) and how to keep my anxiety from controlling me. This past week I’ve managed to talk to three church members, which is the most social interaction I’ve had in the last two months.
Of course, some things are still extremely difficult. I left a coffee date with a kind church member feeling mild disappointment because I realized that I don’t want to make friends, I want to have a friend and skip all the awkward getting-to-know-each-other things. In order to bring myself eat pizza with another couple in the church I had to take the anti-anxiety medication that knocked me out afterwards (the doctor wasn’t kidding when she said it would cause drowsiness!). Already the thought of walking to church this morning is already causing the signs of anxiety: shaking hands, dry mouth, and that sick feeling in my stomach.
But here I am, dressed for church, feeling like I’m going on some sort of suicide run, and trying to accept that this is the best I can do right now.
I usually don’t write vague things on the internet about “Oh, something so great/horrible/shocking/amazing happened but I can’t talk about it,” but I have to break my rule today. I was ready to write a post about a Very Exciting Thing that is going to happen at my husband’s vicarage church. As I opened this page to start writing about the Very Exciting Thing, I realized that not everyone in the congregation has been told about the Very Exciting Thing. I know about the Very Exciting Thing because my husband works at the church. While the Very Exciting Thing isn’t a secret or something shared in confidence, the pastor hasn’t officially told the entire congregation. Consequently, it might be inappropriate to announce my excitement about the Very Exciting Thing until the congregation has decided to do the Very Exciting Thing (even though as far as I know, no one in the congregation knows this blog exists).
So why am I rubbing my knowledge of the Very Exciting Thing in your face? Mostly I’m just pleased I managed to realize that some things are okay for me to know about the church, but I still need to be careful about when and where I talk about such things. Don’t worry, I’ll share the Very Exciting Thing with you soon!
Gas prices typically make me gasp, but usually because the price is unexpectedly high. However, the other day I saw this:
I cannot remember the last time I saw gas prices below $3 a gallon–it’s been over a year at least. Needless to say, I bought some gas even though I was just above a half tank!
I like Christmas cards. I like receiving them, but I also enjoy sending them. I appreciate having the chance to open a line of communication with people that I may not talk to very often. Since my husband and I move so often, it’s difficult to maintain a relationship with friends and family around the country. Christmas cards provide a good opportunity to say, “Hey, even though we aren’t in touch very often, we still think about you!”
However, yesterday my husband brought home a problem in the form of a small stack of Christmas cards from various congregation members. Up until that moment I had never thought about the issue of giving Christmas cards to congregation members. I’m not terribly concerned about it this year since we’ve only lived here five months–I’m not sending Christmas cards to anyone in the congregation and if certain people get uppity because we didn’t give them a Christmas card this year then they are waaaaay too sensitive. Yet I realize that eventually my husband will have a congregation of his own (God willing) and then this will be a problem that I need to consider. Do we give a card to every family in the congregation? Do we only give cards to those we’re closest to? Do we give a basic card to every family but add the newsletter and picture to those we’re closest to? Do we just skip handing out Christmas cards to congregation members completely?
At this point, I’m open to suggestions. 🙂
About a week ago, I asked my husband if he wanted a specific type of Christmas cookie this year. He immediately responded that he wanted anise cookies. By anise cookies, I thought he meant Springerle (a German Christmas cookie). I had never made this type of cookie before, but I was familiar with it because my grandmother would send us a batch every Christmas. Since the cookies are extremely hard (my mom said they were baked to last through the winter), I referred to them as cement cookies while growing up.
I found this recipe online and set about making and rolling the dough this morning. Unfortunately, I don’t own a Springerle rolling pin so my cookies will be without the pretty designs. Oh well! By the time my husband returned from work this morning, I had the dough cut and sitting in the kitchen to dry. He looked at the dough and asked, “What kind of cookies are these?”
I replied, “Spring. . . Springer. . .Springlearoie. . .I can’t say it! Cement cookies!”
My husband says, “Hmm, I wonder what they taste like.”
I looked at him and exclaimed, “You’re the one who asked for these cookies!”
“Yes! The anise cookies!”
“These are anise cookies?”
Now I have no idea if the cookies sitting in the kitchen are actually what my husband wanted. Either way, I’ll be baking the Springerle tonight–I hope they taste decent!
By now most of us have heard about the tragic Connecticut school shooting. I was actually quite behind on the news on this incident. By the time I got home from work yesterday (where I have no contact with news programs and was therefore ignorant of the shooting) and logged onto Facebook, people had already started to pull this tragedy into their causes: gun control (for and against), school safety (and I don’t mean parents worried about how their children will react to the news, but those discussing why schools aren’t better prepared for these attacks), mental illness, religion, and even abortion. Since I was behind on the news and was trying to absorb the shock of this tragedy hours after other people, I wondered why couldn’t we just mourn over this atrocity. Why does it have to quickly become part of a cause? I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to learn from this shooting and try to figure out how to prevent a killing spree like this from happening again, but couldn’t we wait at least a day before doing so? Can’t we ache for the families directly affected a little while longer before trying to find the bigger picture?
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.
This Sunday is the children’s Christmas program at my husband’s vicarage church. Guess who doesn’t have his lines memorized yet? Yup, my husband, the vicar.
A few weeks ago, one of the congregation members at my husband’s vicarage church gave us the above cross that he had made himself. While the cross in itself was an impressive gift because it was hand-made (and my husband and I are about the most un-handy people you’ll ever meet), the gift was especially special to me because it reminded my of my maternal grandmother.
My grandmother had a Jesus nameplate in the same designed that sat on the windowsill in her dining room. Whenever my family visited her, I would spend several minutes staring at the design. It always fascinated me that at first I could only see a jumble of shapes, only to blink and have the name Jesus pop out from the shapes. It was just one of those things that made my grandmother’s house special.
My memories of my grandmother are limited; my family lived ten hours away so we could only visit about once a year. Consequently, I appreciate physical reminders I can have of her–this cross now sits below one of her paintings.