Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Week Snapshots

Yesterday was one of those days that become typical this time of year--and yet, so not typical.  Some snapshots:

--My friend is still in the hospital.  I went to see her twice yesterday, in between lots of other errands.

--My spouse taught his last class yesterday morning--strange to have him at a school system that has him teaching so late, so close to Christmas.

--Because I knew he'd be teaching, I scheduled a lunch outing with a friend who said she'd found a place that reminded her of me and that place in North Carolina where I said I'd like to live.  Which place would that be?  Asheville? Some place at the coast?  Nope--Chapel Hill. 

--Indeed, it did seem very Chapel Hill.  My friend said it reminds her son of Gainesville.  Heck, it's like the artsy district that comes with most college towns.  You can almost imagine recent grads saying, "Hey, let's rent a small place and move in mismatched tables and chairs.  You can hang those recycled chandeliers from the trees outside.  We'll freeze coffee in cubes so it doesn't water down the iced coffee."

--We went to The Alchemist in Wilton Manors.  It was wonderful!  Veggie sandwiches on thick slabs of bread--yum.

--I went to Doris Italian Market to stock up on meat.  We've seen more than one cooking show this week that featured brisket on the grill, so my spouse wanted me to see if they had some.  He warned me that it would be expensive, but when the woman at the meat counter told me it was "Two ninety nine," my first thought was--wow, three hundred dollars is expensive, even for Christmas.  Then I realized my mistake--it was on sale for $2.99 a pound.

--We may cook the brisket today or tomorrow.  My spouse and I both want to be part of our church's team that takes the peace lily and the card with good wishes to the storefront Muslim mosque that's down the street.  What better way to celebrate the Christmas wish of peace on earth?

--We lit the Advent wreath, but had to blow out the candle that we lit on the first Sunday in Advent.  It's burned so low that it's a fire hazard.

--I read an interesting Advent meditation.  I read a piece by Philip Yancey that comes from The Jesus I Never Knew.  This bit leapt out at me:  "Although secular history does not refer to the atrocity, no on acquainted with the life of Herod doubts him capable [of the massacre of the innocents].   . . .  Scarcely a day passed, in fact, without an execution under Herod's regime.  The political climate at the time of Jesus' birth resembled that of Russia in the 1930's under Stalin."

--That put me in mind of Reza Aslan's Zealot, so I read a bit of that book too.

--Nothing says Christmas week like Herod!

--In fact, I'm quite serious.  Many Christians have sanitized the story of Christmas and all that comes afterwards.  We neglect to celebrate the martyrs' feast days that come in the days after Christmas.  We overlook the flight of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus to Egypt, the family turned into refugees.  We forget the harshness of life under Roman rule.

--We forget these things at our peril.  Many people reading my blog are lucky--we live in places where we won't be persecuted for our beliefs.  We can celebrate as we wish.  But those ancient texts give us caution, a prophetic note not to grow too complacent.

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