Christmas more or less snuck up on us this year.
Besides the fact that we’re not getting any younger, I really chalk it up to the fact that Covid19 made it such that the school year was pushed back, beginning in September, meaning that classes (and the related marking, evaluations & such) were also pushed back. So it seems like we were all working right up to the Friday before Christmas.
Is it just me or did it sneak up on you as well?
A ‘Normal’ Post
It’s not that we’ve been ‘out of contact’ really, because you’ve been seeing blog posts from me regularly, it’s just that the content was different.
I had been doing daily ‘Life in Lockdown’ posts, but then, when our Cheesy Christmas began, I thought it’d be a nice change from the relative dreariness of life under lockdown as well as something different & interesting since, at least in Canada, our cheese choices were much different.
Today I’d just like to share our Christmas with you…
Christmas At Church…
We were able to have an in-person service, but because of social distancing and other precautions, we thought it best to not do a pot-luck dinner and fellowship time following service like we normally do for Christmas. That’s usually a really nice time of just being together, and one that we’ll look forward to next year, Lord willing.
We still tried to make is special though.
Rather than a Christmas tree, there was some decorated greenery surrounding a beehive that served as a sermon illustration. We began with Psalm 19:7-11 which gives different adjectives to describe the word of the Lord (perfect, righteous, clean, true). Verse 10 says that it is ‘sweeter than honey and the honeycomb’. I talked about what it took to ‘get at’ the honey… taking off the cover, the inner cover, the layer of bees protecting the honeycomb and finally, the wax cappings.
Similarly… in order to get at the deep truths of the Bible, it takes more than a quick read; there are layers of meaning that need to be uncovered one at a time, not to mention layers of our own flesh (fatigue, misgivings, preconceived ideas, etc.), before we can receive all the good things that the Bible has to offer.
From there we went to John 1:1-14…. ‘the Word (logos) became flesh’ … and those same descriptors, used of the word of the Lord in Psalm 19, can also be used to describe Jesus (perfect, righteous, clean & true).
Just like approaching the written word, the Bible, we must go through different steps to fully access and fully appreciate a relationship with Jesus, the Word become flesh… beginning with repentance (the laying down of the flesh) and continuing to walk in obedience to Him.
Each family went home with a little jar of honey that came out of my hives as a sweet reminder of the Word become flesh, Jesus, and how sweet it is to know and walk with him.
Christmas Around Town…
We’ve spent so much time at home the past few months that on Wednesday, when I had to do a quick run to Poitiers to pick something up, it was awfully nice to see people out ‘n’ about, shops dressed up for Christmas (although with limited capacity), and decorations all around. I came home and said that the next night (Christmas Eve), we’d go out to see the lights in Châtellerault.
Going for a drive to see the lights was something that was almost always part of our Christmas Eves back in Canada. Here, very few houses are decorated – there might be the odd one or two on any given street, but certainly no more. On the other hand, town centers are usually quite festive.
Dominic suggested that we all dress up, so we did. It added an extra, festive touch given that, when you stay home, you tend to spend a lot of time in ‘comfy clothes’.
In one of the town squares, there was a huge giftbox gateway and we managed to get one of the few passersby to take out picture as a family. By 6:00pm there were really very few people still out and about. Though we remained masked for most of the time, it did make us feel a little less self-conscious about lowering them for a couple of minutes when our glasses were well and truly fogged up. We continued on from there, walking through several of the pedestrian streets, and oh, how lovely to be walking under a ribbon of lights that followed the serpentine movement of the street itself.
Although we no longer have to carry a government form to justify leaving home, there has been an 8:00 p.m. curfew in place. Christmas Eve constituted an exception and the curfew was lifted (although it’s back in place now and will remain in place for New Year’s Eve) so there was no pressure to be home by a certain time. Even at that however, we were home by 8:00… since just about everything was closed, and since downtown Châtellerault isn’t that big, it didn’t take long to make the rounds.
That being said… we did stop at the bakery.
In theory, we were just going in for a baguette, but since it was Christmas Eve, and since this little tray of goodies was looking lonely in the display case (it was the last one), it would’ve been a shame to leave it there. So it became our post-chowder dessert.
Christmas at Home
The kids opened a gift each, after supper, and we watched ‘The Nativity”, a bit of a Christmas Eve tradition (before the “last-minute-wrapping-after-the-kids-have-gone-to-bed” tradition). Pollux proudly wore the red scarf Liz knit for him… he knows where his bread it buttered that one!
There were all kinds of gifts the next morning … some home-made, some store-bought and some sent from afar, like the one Timo is opening.
Missionary Colleen Carter, who is in Canada this Christmas, sent a little care package containing some of our favourites from back home that we can’t get here. She packed it in a King Cole Tea box and…
- I’ll tell you what… no one can pack a box like a missionary can. The amount of things that were in that box was nothing short of astounding!
- The fact that it was packed in a King Cole Tea box was a nice touch as well. My grandmother used to go back and forth between King Cole and Red Rose tea, so the smell of an old fashioned tea box set off a flurry of memories. Wow!
Christmas… Different on the outside
To sum things up, on the outside, Christmas was a bit different this year. But when it all boils down, Christmas is all about families loving each other and worshiping the Word who became flesh, Jesus. Our immediate family was together and there’s no lockdown on loving the Lord, so really, Christmas, in the most important ways, remained unchanged.
A belated Merry Christmas, from our house to yours!