Today was a pretty fulfilling day. I think the coolest thing about Sunday is when you find a church that you can't wait to get back to, instead of one that you have to make yourself attend ;)
I stayed up way too late because I procrastinated way too long. I had my dough made and rising early in the day Saturday, but we decided to take off as a family for supper and a few supplies that night, and when the kids took their nap I decided to shower, paint my toenails, shave my legs, and put lotion, perfume, AND Mascara on. Shocking. I felt like a new person. I think this was the first time I wore any makeup in approximately 1 month. Seriously. But this also meant that when we got home at 10pm I had 30 cinnamon rolls to make, and icing. I screwed up a few times because I was so tired I couldn't see straight, and eventually I just gave up and decided to go to sleep. Also at 11:30 I started my decorations for the altar. They weren't over the top fabulous, but the cricut did the trick and we presented Joy through the eyes of a child, which included wearing our Christmas PJ's to church, blowing bubbles for the congregation, and talking about some of our favorite things that we brought to display. Ardyn also rang the doorbell on my musical light-up Gingerbread House, and proudly announced that it was "mommy's favorite Christmas Decoration."
After the sermon, I popped into the kitchen and put the rolls in the oven. Then after prayers I went and took them out and frosted them while the service finished. They smelled so fabulous. People said I made the last 15 minutes of church hard to sit through because they could smell them. It was so cute because Fox Webber was facing backwards the entire time, watching me move them from the baking pans to the glass serving platters. (the kitchen opens up right into the church.) Ardyn was full of it today and gave Sarah and Marcy a run for their money. After church and coffee hour, Ardyn and I stayed and washed all the dishes and put them away, and tidied up the kitchen. Then we took down our altar decorations and packed them up. Then we went into the playroom and read a couple of books together. We were trying to decide what we were going to do, leave the church at 1pm and come back by 3 for caroling, or stay at the church the whole time. It was a tough decision, but in the end, I knew that we needed to change out of our pajamas and get warm coats and hats and such, and also that we probably needed to eat lunch. So we ended up heading home and eating with Marek and then changing clothes and going back to the church for Caroling. We went to eight different places, three of which were long term care facilities, and sang to all of our congregation members who are unable to attend church, and sometimes to anyone at the homes who would make their way to the activity rooms. Ardyn did great for about the first three places, and then she started to get antsy, and she hadn't had a nap either, so that didn't help. But overall she was a WONDERFUL trooper and really behaved fairly well for a 3-year old with a bunch of adults caroling. Mimi brought her niece, but she was 5 and a little shy, which Ardyn is not. It was nice to have another child around though! The best part for me revolved around the whole Health Ministry process. I recently joined the Health Ministries committee at our church and was really intrigued by the possibility of visiting and keeping in touch with people who are unable to get out. The problem being that I don't know any of these congregation members because we haven't been there long, and many of them have not been able to attend since we have been there. It was nice to be able to go and see them with other friends and learn a little about them, so that hopefully someday I would be able to visit them in the future.
I am fairly comfortable with nursing homes because my Great Grandma (who I was VERY Close with) spent several of the last years of her life in one, after a fall that broke her hip. She was very sound in mind for the longest time afterward, and we spent a good deal of time visiting her. Ardyn didn't seem phased by anything there. Which was good. I also realized that one of the people that we visited is in the same building as my Great Aunt Margie, and although she was busy with Bingo today, I hope to go back and visit her again soon! I have a dilemma about taking Ardyn with.... because she is so young and sometimes has a very short attention span, but the residents really seemed to love seeing a little one, and it reminded me of all the attention that my sister and I got when we visited Grandma. Most families don't bring small children to visit, and I think that's a shame. I hope to try in the future. And I also think that now that I have Aunt Margie's Room number, I need to send her a Christmas Card... or perhaps deliver it in person :)
After caroling we went back to the church and had supper together, and then the rest of the carolers watched Rudolph. Ardyn and I went to moms to spend some time with Mom, Dad, and Liz and Marek (who was there that afternoon while we caroled) and then we got home late late late and I carried the sleeping kids right in to bed at 11:30.
Another wonderful part of the day was the sermon at church. Pastor Cheryl started by asking us all to talk about our fondest Christmas Memories. Of course I was the odd-ball because I remember Christmases when things went wrong... Like the one when I had chicken pox and had to stay home while everyone else partied at my Grandma's next door.... or the year that mom thought that the bible I gave her as a surprise present was stolen. Oh, those were the times :) Remind me later and I will write a post about those.
Then she elaborated into Joseph and Mary's experience of Christmas, and how they had no memories or traditions to go by. There was nothing to tell them how Christmas was supposed to be. Nothing to let them know what traditions they could follow or how the day was supposed to go. They were living in the moment of the first ever Christmas Traditions. That was a neat thing to ponder. Then was the breakthrough moment. We talked about Jesus and Mary's prayers. Here we go.... are you ready for this?
Never in my entire life has any church-going individual said, out loud, to me or in public, anything about the whole "yeah right... Mary was a virgin" scenario.
You know what I mean. Don't pretend you don't. Anyone with a free-thinking brain in their head has thought "now, seriously, if Joseph and Mary lived today, and Mary was a virgin, and Joseph had never had sex with her, and never lived with her, and they were engaged to be married, and she showed up pregnant.... no matter what she said..... Well, ESPECIALLY if she said it was a child of God, Joseph would have looked at her like she just saw Moses in her Taco and incredulously told her to get a grip and take her baby-makin bootie back to the baby's daddy." (these might not be your exact words. LOL.)
So, no one has ever mentioned this to me, let alone in CHURCH. And that isn't exactly how Pastor Cheryl worded it, but I knew what she was getting at. She spoke of Joseph hearing the news of Mary, his Fiance, being with child. She mentioned that he may have heard it from the town gossip, or from a friend, or from Mary's family. And that he had decided that he would dismiss her privately, instead of making any type of public spectacle, because he truly thought that she had been with another man. And that the thing that changed his mind was the visit from the angel of God in a dream. In all my church-going years, we NEVER were told that the angel visited Joseph and that he had to be a tad bit convinced or nudged into the direction of believing this whole "child of God" story.
Just hearing all this discussed seriously and openly shed a whole lot of light on the situation. But of course those of us who are still slightly skeptical might say that it would take more than a dream with an angel to convince us of an immaculate conception! But in my mind, this is where the whole "God Is Still Speaking" phenomenon enters the picture, and I wonder, who is god talking to today? I know he is talking to all of us in various ways... In ways that we feel and trust and believe, and who am I to determine on what level Joseph communicates or feels God? And then I wonder, if Jesus and Mary do show up in potato chips and tacos? I wonder if I should ditch the Mickey Mouse pancakes and work on Jesus pancakes. Hmmm.... there could be money in this. Although I would have to donate all proceeds to the church or that would be a bad move. Something tells me that moneymaking endorsements are not huge on God's list of ways to get into heaven.
So. There you have it. My crazy congregational moment of the day.
Have you noticed that Christmas is nearly here? Yep. Shocked me a bit too. Ardyn is starting to get the concept that it really truly is close. Every day she says something like "Is tomorrow Christmas Eve?" or "Will Santa be here tonight?"
She is excited about Christmas Eve at Great Grandma's and about the Christmas Eve church service. Today I learned that each congregation member brings a candle in it's holder and we place them all together on the altar. Each different candle is lit and serves as a reminder of what each person's diversity brings to our church. And that speaks volumes and perfectly describes us.
So, tomorrow I have no official plans. A couple of errands to run and need to make an appointment at the van, as the driver's side sliding door has ceased to slide automatically without getting caught and stuck (ick) and it's a pain. So. Would love to have that fixed before Christmas. Love. really. I wonder if I could convince them to just loan me a new van for the holiday weekend. :)
How in the world did it get to be almost 1am? I wish that my kids would sleep in tomorrow. I could use a bit of rest. Two days without a nap is cramping my style (my nap I mean. I love to lay down and rest when they do, and it makes me such a better mamma to have a break with them :)
Well, goodnight (morning) and may you slow down and enjoy this Holiday week.