Friday, December 25, 2009
Henryk Hector Siemiradzki Christ in the house of Mary and Martha.
Its Christmas eve. I took my family to evening service at an old wooden church atop a hill in a tiny New England village. The simple church was painted white except for some classical trompe work behind the altar and on the ceiling. From the middle of the ceiling hung a big brass candelabra. The church was from the eighteen fifties and looked pretty much as it must have the day it was built. We sang the old carols, Angels we have heard on high, Joy to the world
and Hark the herald Angels sing. There were perhaps fifty of us in the church, since we were out in the countryside the church was filled with families and working people.
At the end of the service we were each given a lit candle and after singing a last hymn we processed out the big open doors of the church into the snowy darkness of a village where the sky was full of a million stars, that never show in the city. The snow was crunching under our feet as we walked to our car and called goodnight to our friends.
Tomorrow morning we will open the presents we have wrapped and placed under the tree, our kids are college age now, so we no longer have little children, wide eyed and in footed pajamas running down the stairs to see the tree with packages piled high around and stretching out from its base. But this is nice too. It is not less.
I feel like I have again run another lap. For me the year seems to end on Christmas eve, not New years. We have dinner with our oldest friends, our children and their friends who we have watched grow up. My eldest girl says its time to watch Its a Beautiful Life and that is an attractive bowl of shrimp shes got there. That movie makes me cry every year. I pretend it doesn't.
Merry Christmas to you and God Bless