Thursday, December 25, 2008
I hope you had yourself a Merry Little Christmas (long)
I so totally meant to post a MERRY CHRISTMAS message yesterday, but it was a crazy Christmas Eve! Had to run get Bjorn a different present from Aidan, since the original one didn't work out, then came home and had to wrap presents. I grabbed a nap, then we went to the 4:00 service at the "rock-and-roll" church (because I wanted to rock out, lol), and then went to the 6:00 service at our church (which I liked much better), then we went out for dinner (had to wait 45 minutes even though we had a reservation!), and then went over to my parents' before we came home and collapsed into bed! I didn't even remember to fill the stockings after Aidan went to bed like I have done consistently for the last 16 years, even when visiting Arizona.
So, the rock-n-roll church's service was good ... the sermon, especially. But, IMHO, if you're going to have a "sing along" with Christmas carols, you need to NOT sing the carols like solos, jazzing them up in weird places and doing non-standard things that no one has a clue what you're doing. For solos, sure. But it was really difficult to sing along with these folks, even though I consider myself pretty skilled at singing many different styles of music. So, since one of the reasons I went was to sing Christmas carols, I was disappointed.
But then we went to our church, and it was ... home. Plus, I just liked the service (except that our worship minister picked some of the less common songs, and we didn't do a candlelight at the end). We could sing along with the songs, the pastor's message was wonderful (about Jesus being the Prince of Peace, following the verses in Isaiah about Him being the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace -- we've been touching on those the last few Sundays), and then we did the Lord's Supper (communion/Eucharist), and that was really awesome. I don't tend to think of the Lord's Supper in connection with Christmas, but it was perfect! I mean, after all, Jesus was born here for the purpose of dying for our sins and saving us from eternity in hell, without God, without Love (and then, of course, He rose from the dead three days later to give us victory over death!).
Afterwards we went to a nearby Pasta restaurant. I was so hungry by that point I literally thought I was coming down with stomach flu (weak, woozy, queasy), but all I needed was some food and WATER! They had a "special" Christmas Eve menu (read: more expensive), and I really debated about what to get, since I'm allergic to wheat (bye-bye pasta), and I didn't want to risk spicy or greasy stuff. So I finally told Bjorn I would pay for my own meal out of my Christmas money, and I chose the New Zealand rack of lamb, for $28. Yes. I really, really had to choke down that price tag! But, let me tell you, it was possibly one of the best meals I've ever had at a restaurant. Not just because the lamb came from New Zealand (although they do have, reputedly, the best lamb in the world), but it was tender and SOOOOO tasty, and they served it with asparagus (which I love) and baby new potatoes. It felt like such a healthy meal compared to Aidan's oven-fired pizza and Bjorn's lasagna! When we were finished they were painfully stuffed, and I was pleasantly full (and NOT of grease and spicy tomato sauce!). So, yeah, it was worth the $28 for one day out of the year!
My parents came over for Christmas this morning, and we had a wonderful celebration together, just laughing and bantering about the presents, etc. Not that it matters hugely, but I did get some nice gifts -- two table-top Umbra "fotofall" photo displays and a floor model to display my cards from (at home, in the living room). I've wanted those for years, and finally got them! Plus I got Guitar Praise (the Christian version of Guitar Hero -- and I'm scared to death to try it out! I told Aidan he'll have to show me how to do it so I won't look like a total loser!), some adorable mugs from Aidan that say "Creativi-tea", "Sereni-tea" and ... I'll have to look up the third one later. A gorgeous painting from Bjorn (via the kitties) of an adirondack chair on a porch with the ocean in the background, a pair of sort-of primitive paintings of cats from my mom (one orange, one dark grey, just like my kitties), a "chandelier" (I have to put that in quotes since it's not the big, heavy crystal kind) to go over our piano to replace the icky old 1970s one we've had since we moved in -- that was from Bjorn. Just lots of nice things, nothing I didn't like. I know I'm totally being a hypocrite about my distaste of the commercialism of Christmas, but the thing is, all the gifts were just very thoughtful, and reflected the people who gave them to me, so that was what made them fun and special.
The kitties (ahem) gave Bjorn a mug that says "I do everything Stacy tells me to do." We all got a huge laugh out of that.
OH! Did I mention what we got Aidan for Christmas? First, let me tell you that Bjorn and I are certifiably insane to have done this: We got him a Japanese samurai sword (a "katana"). Yep. And it's razor sharp, too.
He's wanted one, like, forever (well, since he got into this Japanese stuff -- before that he wanted a Lord of the Rings replica sword of some kind). It's a beautiful sword. It's just that it's, well, razor sharp. The unsharpened ones were boring and blah, so we decided we would trust him with this. It's strictly for display, and he's not allowed to show it to ANYONE without one of us present. He's a good kid, though, so we're not terribly worried. The only thing is that he hung the display rack fairly low on the wall, so we'll have to really police when we have little kids (or kids of any age!) over here. Anyway, he was TOTALLY psyched -- that look you really wanna see on your kid's face when they open their BIG Christmas present.
(Somehow that is a scary picture! Geez, we're insane! But ... we couldn't come up with anything else we knew he wanted that worked for us.)
Anyway ... it's been a terrific Christmas. There was only one tough moment in it -- I went over to my folks' house to help them fix Christmas dinner, and we needed to use the oven in my grandmother's little apartment-thing she lived in before she passed away back in March. So I took the dish back there and walked through her living room and kinda whispered, "Merry Christmas, Granny!", and while I was putting the dish in the oven I was just overwhelmed with this desire to kiss her warm, soft cheek. And I couldn't! And it was just so painful and sad and, like I said, overwhelming that I just had a total meltdown. Part of the reason we'd had Christmas at our house was so we wouldn't have to be faced with Granny missing from the usual routine of Christmas morning at Mom and Dad's. But it hit like a ton of bricks and was just so hard there for awhile! I do miss her so much ... she was (is) such a special lady, such a huge part of our lives. But I've been so good at just pushing those feelings back for so long (I don't do emotional pain well, I prefer to run as far from it as possible), so when it hits, it HITS.
But I know she's up celebrating Jesus' birthday with Jesus this year, so that makes things feel a little better.
Anyway, I know this post has been long and probably would try the patience of Job, so I appreciate anyone who stuck with it until the end. I'm still having mojo issues, but now I have all these little "fotofall" clips to fill with cards (many of which I already have, but I could definitely make more!), so I need to get busy. Plus, I want 2009 to be the Year of the Scrapbook around here!
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I'll be back soon ...