I survived and even enjoyed my first Christmas Eve and Day as clergy! The weather was perfect, and there weren’t even any disasters for my first year. Joe insisted on taking my picture before I headed off to my first service because he thought I looked pretty. Note the coffee mug in hand.
The church looked gorgeous. The music was perfect. And I received wine, chocolate, and sticky buns from several parishioners. I was completely unprepared for how generous everyone would be. It was much appreciated. My normal role is to read the gospel lesson, which on Christmas is, of course, the nativity story. It was a very special moment for me to read the nativity story for the congregation.
The hardest transition was waking up the next morning to go into the hospital to do two services. They weren’t as well-attended as I would’ve hoped, but there was a higher percentage of staff than usually attend and my homily was well-received. One of the nice things about doing those services is having some freedom and getting to do what I want, like read Luke’s nativity story from the King James version. Saying the shepherds were “sore afraid” rather than “terrified” just feels right. After four services in 20 hours, I was ready to get home, hang out with Joe, and open some presents.
I got a lot of GU Chomps. Training for the Flying Pig Marathon starts just after the first of the year. That many Chomps will probably last me for five marathon training cycles. I will never go hungry on a run again.
By far, this was the best present given or received this Christmas. Joe and I had been pondering upgrading the cat condo but never pulled the trigger. While we were at Costco for some last minute shopping, we saw some that were a really great deal. The only problem was fitting a 6’ tall cat condo into my Ford Focus. Not happening. My introvert of a husband announced that he was going to wander the parking lot and ask people with trucks or SUVs if they wouldn’t mind hauling it a couple of miles home for us. Sure enough, the first couple that he asked was more than happy to help us out and wouldn’t even let us give them a little cash for their trouble. I couldn’t believe it! The cats were thrilled with their Christmas present and have been playing King of the Mountain with the top compartment ever since.
Joe took care of the turkey that Vanderbilt gave us by injecting it with a Cajun marinade and doing a BBQ dry rub on the outside. I made blue cheese mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, and my mom/grandma’s cranberry salad. I did not photograph a darn thing. Not even the leftovers. A fellow working-on-Christmas chaplain came over for dinner, and we were having too much darn fun drinking wine and chatting. So it was and continues to be a good Christmas.