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Merry Christmas Eve

Speaking of interruptions, (see yesterday’s blog post) I burned the ham I was planning to serve our family for our Christmas Eve dinner. My Sweet William said, ‘Don’t worry about the money. Just go get another ham.” Interruption.

Bill struggled in the bathroom (he’s just had knee surgery) and knocked several things onto the floor. Nothing was broken, but water from a vase went on the floor. Interruption.

After bowls of oatmeal and raisins (the last good-for-us-food we will probably eat today), I donned my Neiman Marcus green felt fedora (a cast off from my cousin – a find for me), hoping to cover the bed-head hair, threw my cape over my PJ’s (actually sweat pants and an old shirt of Bill’s), put on my sunglasses, and set off for Kroger, hoping to see no one I knew.

I quietly asked the Lord for a close parking spot. He gave me one, bless Him! I rattled my memory for the four items I was going to get: ham, a package of dry yeast, whipped cream, and a replacement soap dispenser for the one in the bathroom that quit working this morning. Interruption.

I only saw one person I knew at Kroger. She looked at me with her head slightly turned, smiled and wished me a Merry Christmas. It was the hat, I’m sure.

I grabbed my items quick as I could, trying to be pleasant to other last-minute shoppers like myself. I bought chocolate cream puffs from the frozen section, a substitute for homemade cookies this year.

I went through the self-serve check-out and wished the young man stationed there a “Merry Christmas.” The car trunk popped open with the press of a button, and I deposited my purchases. I took two bascarts back to the store, and a Kroger employee smiled sweetly and said a genuine ‘thank you.’ I smiled as I walked to the car.

At home, I put the new ham in the oven, careful to follow the instructions this time. I went into a food preparation frenzy. In between recipes, I grabbed stockings and stuffed them, put gifts in bags and added some tissue paper hoping they would look OK. It’s been such a busy few days with quite a number of interruptions.

Before the family came, I managed a quick shower and change of clothes, fixed my hair and make-up. Soon the house was full of my loved ones, lots of smiles and laughter, hugs and hearts filled with thankfulness that we have each other. And after all, isn’t that the best Christmas gift of all?

Merry Christmas everyone. Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

There’s no place like home

I went with my family to the Newport Aquarium on Friday, taking a day off from the office. The grandchildren enjoyed their first home-school field trip. None of us had been to the aquarium, and we were excited to get there and see the penguin parade at 10:15. The rest of the day was spent exploring the life that exists in the seas, the lakes, and the rivers of this planet. I was amazed at the variety of their sizes, colors, functions, and habitats. My personal favorites were the tiny neon blue fish that seemed to glow in the tank. One granddaughter said she’d like to have them in her room for a night-light. 

As I considered the God who created all of these amazing creatures, my thoughts went to our first Ruth Bible study class this week. I couldn’t help thinking of the women who entered the upper room, each one so different in looks, personality, gifts and talents, their habitats, and their journeys. Each woman is unique and made special according to God’s design and pattern. And they add a beauty to their world simply by being who God made them to be. As they filled out papers, paid for their books, and found their places at the tables, their treble-pitch chatter with each other was music to this piano teacher’s ears. And so we began our journey with Ruth and Naomi. 

This week we study and think about two journeys, the one Naomi took from Bethlehem to Moab and her return journey back to Bethlehem. Her circumstances are quite different, and she is a different woman because of how life has happened to her.

One thing caught my attention about the preparation for the return journey. Chapter 1, verses 6 and 7 read,

 ” . . . Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there . . . she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.” (emphasis mine).

Naomi still considered Bethlehem in the land of Judah her home though she’d lived in Moab for at least 10 years. Moab was just “the place she’d been living,” but it wasn’t home. Sometimes we find ourselves in a place where we are just living, just putting in our time, just making it through each day. But it isn’t home.

I have been there, in a place I was just living, and I longed desperately to go home.  How about you?  Perhaps we should look around at where we are and how we got here.  Home beckons us.  The Father of all calls us back.  For home is where He is, the secret place of the Most High, the sheltered shadow of the Almighty, the place of obedience to His will where He reveals Himself to us.

There’s no place like home.