May I wish everyone a Joyous and Blessed Christmastide.
Christmas Eve 2010, our fifth Christmas in North Carolina. Of the past ten holidays we have only spent one in our country of birth. That's not a complaint, in fact 2004 was a very special Christmas for us as we were moving from Spain to NC a few weeks later.
As I write this I am surrounded by our two felines, Hartley and Nimbus, quietly snoring, and at my feet is a sleeping dog. Sammie's owners are out of state for the holidays and Sammie is spending Christmas with us.
Gail is at church, where the turkey she is cooking should be in the oven by now. Although many of our church family are away for the holidays, we expect quite a good turn-out for Holy Eucharist this evening and for our annual Christmas dinner which follows.
It's been a tough six months since our Vicar left, but I think we have coped pretty well. Thanks to our dedicated supply priests not one Eucharist has been missed. We have continued with Bible Study, Daily Office (now six days per week), had a baptism, a funeral and a wedding, and will shortly be starting Catechesis to prepare candidates for baptism, confirmation, reaffirmation and acceptance at Eastertide. For a small church with no clergy, that's no small achievement and a tribute to the lay members.
Tomorrow Gail and I will have fun chatting to our family in Norfolk, England at 6 a.m. before once again going to church to worship at Morning Prayer, cooking breakfast and sharing table fellowship with members and friends, including some of our homeless neighbors.
Gail will then be at her own stove to cook (another) Christmas dinner for our North Carolinian family.
Who said Christmas is a relaxing time? It certainly wasn't in that small town 2000-odd years ago.