I can’t let Christmas slip by without saying anything. Merry Christmas! Actually, what I really wanted to say is that Christmas was not all that awesome this year. Don’t get me wrong – nothing bad happened. It was because advent was way too amazing!
Advent this year was like no other advent I had been through before. Matt and I put up a display in our window and every day we pegged up a new picture or bible verse or pipe-cleaner-bent-into-the-shape-of-a-Christmas-tree. There was lots of pre-Christmas cheer at work, lots of pre-Christmas parties with friends and very fun events at church. Our fellowship group spent December looking at the stories in Luke just before and after Jesus was born (remember this entry?) which I found really helpful for focusing on the wonder of what happened that first Christmas. We took our present-giving very seriously this year and we worked hard to find meaningful gifts for people. I even handmade some gifts to try and make things less wasteful. All these things combined made advent a really magical experience, and I was pretty psyched for Christmas by the 24th!
Here are some of the things that were hanging up on our advent calender:
Christmas Eve itself was pretty wonderful too. We had a roast dinner with a couple of girls from church, went to look at Christmas lights and then headed across to church for the midnight service.
+ I gave strawberry plants as Christmas presents to the young ladies in our complex who pick my flowers, herbs and strawberries. Hopefully they will learn how much work it is to grow them! + This is me struggling to open the wine at dinner. It was very very good wine! + Our door decoration + Christmas lights on Second Street + Our tiny tree with presents ready to give away! + At the midnight service. +
I guess with an advent that amazing, it’s understandable that Christmas itself fell short. Christmas was a whirlwind of rushing between family events. The rushing wasn’t really that bad – it was actually quite nice to see everyone. And there were some really beautiful moments of just being family – sitting together, cooking togther, cleaning together, giving things to each other. It was just that Jesus was conspicuously absent. It’s not really that surprising, neither Matt’s nor my family is really into Jesus anyway so he’s never really featured at family gatherings (although this year Matt’s family asked me to say grace before we ate which was very nice, and unexpected!). But after such an uplifting advent, everything just felt so empty without him. Without Jesus it was just our families giving more stuff to each other. So lame! And I mean that literally – it was like Christmas was maimed, just a shadow of what it could be.
A few days after Christmas when I got back on the computer, I found this poem on a blog that Matt reads. It was written by a guy called Dan and it pretty much sums up my Christmas Day experience. Please read it if you get a chance: