Canceling Church, part 2

Merry day after Christmas!  I hope you had a lovely day, fully present to Jesus and loved ones around you.  

Friday I posted on different attitudes towards canceling church on Christmas day, including my own whine well reasoned argument against John signing our family up to lead in worship.  Well the troops rallied and it was a delightful day.  Since I’m following the advice of my blog “mentor”, Jon Acuff and taking a little break this week, I thought I’d just post what I shared in church yesterday. 

Twenty-six years ago this past week John and I were waiting for a baby to arrive.  It was Advent so we were waiting to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  But we were also expecting our first baby.

I was 8 months pregnant and like all expectant parents we were discussing names.   We couldn’t agree, but it wasn’t for lack of resources.

We had a baby book with the meanings of names.

And even a Christian version with Bible verses for each name’s meaning.

And then we had, you know… the whole BIBLE, with all those holy names to choose from.  But…we had…issues.

I had been an elementary school teacher which meant we had to nix any names that had belonged to problem kids I had had in class.  I used to love the name Jeremy until I had a third grade “Jeremy” who was worse than Dennis the Menace and Osama bin Laden.  So Jeremy was out.  And so was Alex.  And Michael.

Then we had trouble agreeing on the type of name.  I like unusual names, and would have no problem naming a child Zechariah (my cousin has kids named Cosmo and Zappa so he’d feel right at home).  But John likes the classics (and the name “John” in particular), so there was no way we could agree on a boy’s name that was acceptable.  It’s a good thing we had a girl.

When Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph didn’t have to have the “What shall we name him” conversation fraught with the potential disagreements.  I know there are a lot of downsides, to being the parents of the Messiah, but this is a perk.  They had an ANGEL show up and say, “Here’s the deal.  You’re gonna have a baby and I want you to name Him Jesus.  Got that?  Jesus.   Not Joe.”  

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Christmas Card Fail

One of the casualties of the Holiday Ham meltdown ’11 was our family Christmas card and letter.  We’re not going to do one this year to save some money.  As the Christmas Queen who wants to do everything Christmas, and who’s dream is to be a snowflake in the Holidazzle parade, you can bet this wasn’t my vote.  I’m really into tradition.  We even have a book where we keep all our family Christmas cards through the years.

But maybe it’s better this way.  I received a link to The Best of the Worst Holiday Cards yesterday and I’m thinking some of ours might make the cut.  We were really into holiday sweaters.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking…What if Mary and Joseph wrote a Christmas letter a couple of years after Jesus was born?  It might have begun like ours did in 1987, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”?

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Hormones and Ham, Messes and Mis-understanding

One of us in our family had a meltdown Friday night.  It might have included an ugly cry and talk about budgets, Christmas cards, ham, and insensitive comments.

My husband and I both worked really hard to understand each other, but OK, honestly John worked at it a lot harder than I did because, well, not to be sexist, but I’m a girl.  And he feels really bad when I cry.

On this night our discussion was kind of like a Christmas movie marathon that seems to go on forever and eventually the stories seem to start blurring together and you get really tired.  But John persisted and kept asking questions and listening until he finally said something and I grabbed him and yelled with great joy, “YOU SAID IT RIGHT THAT TIME!”

I felt like he finally got it.  He understood.  And he felt like he had vanquished the Abominable Snow Monster, guided Santa’s sleigh through the blizzard, and saved Christmas in that moment.  He was my hero again.

It made me think of what Joseph must have gone through with Mary.  I mean really.  Jesus was fully human AND fully God, but Mary was just human!  She was hormonal, and still in her teens, and unmarried and poor.  And an angel had beamed down to have a chat with and her fiance.

Think of the conversations Mary and Joseph must have had as they navigated this crazy journey of morning sickness, and gossipy friends, and a long “road” trip without McDonald’s bathrooms!  There must have been tears and confusion.  Trying to understand what each other was feeling.  Trying to support each other.

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