|The birth of Christ must have been a confusing time.
Two Christmases: Our youngest daughter couldn't make it home for the actual day of Christmas so we planned a celebration for the whole family on Saturday the 27th. That freed up Don and I to spend Christmas eve and day with Mom in Eugene. Both celebrations, the one in Eugene, and a few days later, here, were meaningful and family-full.
Christmas eve services: The church where my mom and sister attend, First United Methodist Church in Eugene, has two worship services on Christmas eve. The first, at 4 PM, is a children's service, where the children of the church parade around dressed as angels, shepherds, sheep, pigs, and, oddly as butterflies. The majority of service was directed at the children with stories, music, and the lighting of the advent candles. At one point a soloist came up and sang a beautiful song but it was hard to pay attention to her since the cute kids were placing ornaments on the trees while she sang. The soloist finished before the decorating was complete, so the pastor said, "The kids shall continue ornamenting while we move on with the service." I liked how he made a noun into a verb. The photo shows controlled chaos of the kids singing "Silent Night" while holding battery-operated candles. //The second service, at 10 PM, was the opposite: polished and majestic. It was filled with music from the choir, pipe organ, bell choir, and special soloists and instruments. We sang carols and held dripping candles. It set my heart to rights. Finally, my heart was ready to celebrate the birth of my Lord, Jesus Christ.
Christmas Day: was spent at my sister's house where she and her husband hosted a small dinner for six. The meal was delicious and the day was calm and comfortable. At the end of the day we watched the old classic film: Home Alone. We all laughed again at the antics of Kevin McAllister and the dumb, would-be burglars.
Three days later: with our daughter safely home from San Francisco, we celebrated Christmas again. It was like the old days for our family with the Hallelujah Chorus announcing the time to come downstairs to start the day, the opening of presents, and eating crepes for breakfast. Our grandson, age two, made the day special and fun. His excitement and enthusiasm was palpable. He clearly liked each of his gifts and played with each before moving on to the next gift. We gave him a green toy made from recycled plastic, a recycling dump truck. One of his favorite things to do is to watch the garbage collectors come through the neighborhood with the truck picking up the bins and dumping them into the truck. He seemed delighted with the toy. We also played card games, watched football on the TV, and ate another yummy meal.
Cats: The very first Broadway musical our girls ever saw was Andrew Lloyd Weber's musical CATS. They have been obsessed with it since that time. When we saw that the play was being made into a movie starring Dame Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, to name a few, we knew we had to see it. Today after church we went straight to the theater for the movie. All the bad reviews be damned. We loved it. It was the music and the story-line we knew and loved from the play with very creative computer imagery (CGI.) If you liked the musical, or like cats (the animals) let me recommend it to you.
End-of-year-reading survey: I have completed my reading survey of 2019. You can find it here, if you are interested in finding out my favorites of the year.
100th book: I just finished my Goodreads goal to read 100 books this year and I doubt I will finish anymore before the new year. Currently I am reading five different books, all of them long and only partway done:
- Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth by Rachel Maddow---Audiobook, 45% complete.
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck---print and audiobook. I made a bit of progress on this book after a LONG hiatus. 32% complete.
- Great Poems for Grandchildren---print, 49% complete.
- Love Letters: a novel by Madeleine L'Engle---e-book, 20% complete.
- On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong---print, 8% complete.
The President Sang Amazing Grace: one of the gifts we gave Mom was a children's book edition of the Zoe Mulford song sung by Joan Baez. If you aren't familiar with the song, here it is. I warn you it make make you cry for two reasons: 1. We used to have a President who would sing to those who needed his song and 2. The reason he needed to sing.
Happy New Year: I'll "talk" to you again in 2020.