Christmas Greetings

(First time trying the Quickpress function on my blog, so forgive any glaring typos….)

I’ve been absent again for a moment, trying to digest the challenges of our Christmas season. Our church was busy as usual, where we held our annual Christmas Cantata. We originally were scheduled to have a drama production, but it didn’t pan out and we ended up putting a rush of a program together in 3 weeks. It will never cease to amaze me what kids are capable of when challenged. The choir learned 5 songs, speakers learned their parts, and dancers ministered with excellence. In our home, Marcus snagged a fill in part as a little drummer boy, complete with drum, and Naomi looked lovely as one of the junior dancers. Christopher, unfortunately, got hit with the flu bug the week of the concert. He had a scripture reading, but on that Saturday he was double whammied and couldn’t get out of bed. In comes Marcus, learns the part in one day, and presented it without blinking. No one outside of the program coordinators knew what had transpired. I was so proud of him, and perhaps even more because he did it without fanfare or acknowledgment. If only more adults could serve with that kind of unselfishness.

For a while our Christmas decor in the house looked a little bleak, as I couldn’t seem to break away to be present in family decorating. Finally, Monday and Tuesday we got the tree decorated and today, we enjoyed ripping into presents that my wife somehow made to appear without my knowledge or accounting. She is the genius of gift certificates. They are earned when she buys for the church and we get bonuses that the manager lets her keep. I’m unaware of this most years. All I know is every Christmas I fret on how we’ll afford gifts, and then somehow I end up with a camcorder, my son gets an all-in-one printer/scanner, and the kids are laden with Christian themed products. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I suppose.

The part of the Christmas season I looked forward to most is our call to my parents and siblings on Christmas Eve. Every year when I was growing up, we celebrated the Advent devotions that were supplied by our Lutheran church. It culminated with a Christmas eve night of singing carols around the piano, reading Luke 2, and a great feeling of family togetherness and tradition. Moving to Miami separated us physically from being able to celebrate with our loved ones, so every year I have to kind of cheer myself up when I know we won’t be able to spend Christmas eve together. I’ve tried to institute new traditions for the Miami Pauls, but nothing seems to stick like the Christmas Eve devotion. So we three way my brother, sister and parents, put everyone on speakerphone, and do a long distance sing-a-long and reading. It’s not the same, but it does remind me that it’s not the presents, nor the amount of money that’s spent, but the presence of my loved ones that makes the holiday special. When the kids grow up, they may remember those crazy phone calls, singing with my mother playing piano 600 miles away, much more than any gift they ever receive. I hope they appreciate it the way I do.

May God bless you and yours and remind you that because He is born, we can be born again. Merry Christmas.



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