Beloved Peoples! 

Singing Christmas music with old women is really fun. Especially when it has been transcribed by non-native English speakers. Very entertaining. Example: We were singing Frosty the Snowman at the old folks' home. You know the part, in the second verse, where it says "until the other skaters knock him down"? Well, that was translated into: "Until the alligators knock him down." - which basically means the same thing. There are many other lovely examples, I just can't remember them at the moment.

Merry Christmas! There's a really wonderful video that you should all watch. It's called "Oh Emmanuel." It has The Piano Guys? And some really beautiful footage representing the life of Christ. I'm usually not super into that stuff, but it's very uplifting - and I would encourage you all to take 5 minutes to watch it.

Also, did you catch the Christmas Devotional last night? The music was spectacular, and the talks were....not my favorite. But there was a story which really touched me. It was about a young, single mother with 6 children - during the 1800s, I think? The man speaking had read the account from the mother's journal (she was one of his ancestors). She wrote about the anguish she felt as her hopeful children hung up their stocking, full of faith and expectation for what they would find in them the next morning. She knew she didn't have anything to fill the socks with, but she combed their small house, looking for something, anyway. And as she looked she found an old squash, which she realized she could roast and boil and use to make a simple, sweet syrup. After preparing the syrup she used it to flavor a flour, cinnamon and water mixture she had concocted. She explained that after cutting the crude dough into every shape imaginable and cooking the pieces on the stove-top (they didn't have an oven), she packed the children's socks full of the imitation gingerbread. She recounted the children's delight upon finding the cookies in the morning and explained her relief at having been able to express her love for them in some small way. I'm afraid I didn't do a very good job at re-telling the story, but it was very moving - I think mostly because it's such a clear representation of the intense love we can have for each other - and the lengths we go to in order to express that love - however meager or inadequate those efforts may appear to us. During this season, it's very humbling to recognize that Christ's sacrifice for us was made solely out of that same intense feeling of love - lpve for each and every one of us. 



Oh man do I love you all!