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Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Merry Little Complication

Years ago we started a wonderful little family tradition.

As our kids got older, got married, and started having families of their own - complete with inlaws - we said, hey, you know what? We want you to start your own Christmas Day traditions. Be with your own families. Celebrate the day with your inlaws, if that will keep peace in the family.

You are most welcome to come here on Christmas day, but here's the deal: Our family gathers on Little Christmas (the Sunday on or before or after The Feast of the Epiphany), and celebrates with a Big Meal and an exchange of gifts.

It has worked very, very well. No strain, lower tension, AND, we get to take advantage of all the after Christmas sales. Such a deal, right!

Our family was to start gathering tonight in anticipation of Little Christmas tomorrow. Except . . . .

There's a Very Big Snowstorm predicted to begin at noon. The National Weather Service is calling for 7-10 inches for our area, and then head up to New England, where our son and his wife and their three kids live.

Ms. Conroy was glued to The Weather Channel, and we were text messaging furiously to each other last night. The final word was: Let's wait and see what happens on Saturday afternoon. The New England contingent was even willing to get up at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning and make their way here.

So, we wait and prepare and try not to let our anxiety intrude on or invade our excitement.

The presents? Well, they can be given at any time. Mostly, we just want to be with each other, is all. To catch up and laugh and retell stories we've already shared by email but this time, we'll do it in person, and that will make all the difference.

See, in the end, it's really all about the Incarnation. It's not so much about 'the presents' as it is about 'being present' to each other and with each other.

We'll all be very sad if the snow keeps us from our Little Christmas celebration, but should that happen, we'll all be deeply committed to finding another way - to get to celebrate the gift of our family 'by another route' and at another time.

So, Mother Nature is going to do whatever She will. We'll not be wasting God's time with prayers about changing the weather. S/he's got people starving in India and a war in The Gaza Strip and Iran and Afghanistan to worry about.

Meanwhile, I'm going to start baking and cooking.

Haven't you heard?

It's almost Little Christmas!


KJ said...

Happy Merry Little Christmas!

Living north of Seattle, our family gathering was postponed to the Sunday after Christmas. Being the only Episcopalian n the crowd, I had a heck of a time convincing others it was still Christmas, and even had to resort to the goofy song to make my point!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, Christmastide has now come and is gone for another year, but the Season of the Epiphany lives on for yet another little while.

I'd love to hear your goofy song, KJ. Which one was it?

VTcrone said...

Oh good, you gave me a reason for not taking my Christmas tree down until tomorrow. Hey, it's not dropping needles yet as we only put it up on Dec. 23 and it still looks lovely as the felions have decided to ignore it.
Happy Merry Little Christmas to you and yours.

Lisa Fox said...

Elizabeth, I do hope the weather has cooperated and that you get to have "little Christmas" with your family.

gerry said...

Have a very merry little Christmas.

Our tree is also still up, although we took the ornaments off earlier this evening.

I tend to consider the season of Christmas lasting until Candlemas on February 2...

Lindy said...

Merry Little Christmas.
I hope it works out for all of you.

KJ said...

I mean "The Twelve Days of Christmas", Elizabeth. I probably shouldn't have called it "goofy", as I know many people like the song.

As an Episcopal Newbie (I shall be made a properly confirmed Episcopalian come Easter Vigil.), I shall do my best to not become a church year fundie, but I really like the Christmas Season of the church calendar. Fortunately, even before my coming out, my family entertained my little, shall we call them, eccentricities.

Perfect "Little Christmas" weather in Seattle this weekend -- Rain!

Brother David said...

Fortunately, even before my coming out, my family entertained my little, shall we call them, eccentricities.

KJ, we call those latent Episcopal tendencies.

Theodora May said...

Wow. And I still have my tree up as well. It will not be taken down until Jan. 20 at the earliest and Ash Wed. at the latest. A Merry Christmas to you.