Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mid-Morning, Christmas Eve

The office is quiet this morning.  I think the phones have rung once in the two or so hours that we've been open.  I'm here until noon, and then headed to my parent's home until late this evening.

There are the requisite "bacon thingy's" (we're not sure what to call them) to make with my brother this afternoon for the Christmas Eve family appetizer feast (and for Christmas dinner appetizers tomorrow at my aunt's house.)  Basically you take whole water chestnuts, make an extremely thick paste of brown sugar and teriyaki sauce, soak the water chestnuts in the paste, wrap the water chestnuts in bacon, secure with toothpicks, and then bake until they're hot and the bacon is cooked.  My brothers would be quite distressed if these "once a year" treats I've been making for years now didn't appear.

Then dad's church is holding a short service, at my parent's house tonight (the church rents a school, not available on Christmas eve.)

And that will be followed by eating, laughing and talking with my family.  The five of us, plus the boys girlfriends, and maybe my grandma.  Christmas Eve is one of my favorite nights of the year for this reason - it's rare, these days especially that the five of us are in one place, and in a good mood.  It's fun to just laugh and talk and be together, sometimes playing games, sometimes just hanging out.

Tomorrow will be filled with a little bit more family time, and a lot of extended family time.  But tonight is the night I look forward to.

Advent draws to a close after today.

Late tonight I'll return home from my parents, with gift wrapping still to be done, and perhaps an ornament to be constructed for myself, but I'll pause and light the advent candles again, this time lighting the Christ candle in the centre.  Last year my Christ candle became a gift to some friends, a symbol of four weeks of prayers and longings.  This year I'm looking forward to it remaining on my dresser, ready to be lit in various moments through the year, moments of praying and remembering the longing for the coming of a Savior.  Imannuel - God with us.

A few years ago I found I could pray only single words.

Those words still hold deep meaning to me today. 

Hallelujah. (Glory to God.)
Immanuel. (God with us.)

Hallelujah.  Immanuel.  Hallelujah.