Saturday, December 24, 2011

7 quick takes: first Christmas away from home edition

I didn't think I'd get to blogging quick takes this week, but am up in the middle of the night with a severe bout of homesickness so this week's post has become a spiritual discipline.  You'd think I would have anticipated the homesickness  being my first Christmas away from home -- ever.  I'm learning, though, that it's possible to be completely at "home" and "homesick" at the very same time.  I think this is a valuable Advent lesson, don't you?

Seven reasons I am excited to spend Christmas -- my first Christmas away from home -- in Austin:

--- 1 ---

You're going to laugh.  This morning as my son and I were crawling on hands and knees across our church's rented dancefloor-turned-sanctuary, snaking black tape over electrical cord, I had a great sense of "home".  Same sense, a few moments before that when my daughters and I were placing little paper circles around small white candles.  You may or may  not remember my thoughts last Advent about the act of preparing for corporate worship being part of my DNA

Today was a good reminder.

--- 2 ---
This year for Advent I get to sing two of my all-time favorite Advent/Christmas songs.  And not just all by lonesome with iTunes as my accompaniment.  I get to sing these songs with real-live worshipers in a real-live worship service. 

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

In the Bleak Midwinter

--- 3 ---

Since I'm not working this year, I was able to get a little bit Christmas crafty.  We had fun making handmade gifts for some of the many, many amazing new friends we're making.

handmade snow globes for our littlest friends
--- 4 ---

Christ Church presents an annual children's nativity pageant on Christmas Eve, complete with angels, wise men, barn animals.  For the first time in, maybe fourteen years (?), I am not in charge of one single thing for Christmas Eve services.  (although I did offer to help corral costumes between services).

Christ Church invited a string quartet to their second service on Christmas Eve.  Grace upon grace, I only yesterday discovered that another Christmas tradition in our new church is to celebrate the first-Sunday-after-Christmas with a Lessons and Carols liturgy.  I have truly found a home in Anglican worship.  

donkey costume and Baby Jesus waiting for the Christmas pageant

--- 5 ---

Living in central Texas during Advent and Christmas, it's so much fun to read the familiar phrase in Luke's Gospel,  In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah... and be able to picture this.

--- 6 ---

We've been accustomed to filling our relational "tank" with our large and near-by families during the Christmas season. Living far away, we have the opportunity to spend time with friends.  Today we ate toasted cheese sandwiches, watched A Muppet's Christmas Carol and talked  for hours with new friends.  As an extra-special bonus, we got to spend hours sitting, crawling, and playing on floor level with their completely adorable ten-month-old.  

Joy, joy, joy!

--- 7 ---

And, if all else fails, we've learned how to make this.

candy cane vodka for our bigger friends

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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