Saturday, December 25, 2021

Pivoting on Christmas Eve

December 24 was a work day for me--not a work in the office day, but a getting ready for Christmas kind of work day.  I didn't mind.  

The day was punctuated with trips to the grocery store.  I went to the grocery store 3 times; I did the big shopping early, before 8 a.m., when I would usually be the only one in the store.  Not yesterday, but I got in and out fairly quickly.  I got home to realize I forgot to buy lemons, so one more trip.  I made this delicious fish dip, which made me realize we would need more baguettes and white wine, instead of as much red as I bought.  I resolve to call my fish dips rillettes from now on.  Late in the day, I went back to the grocery store for more baguettes and white wine.

I met my pastor at 10 at the church.  I had offered to help get the worship space set up for Christmas Eve.  I arrived to a variety of poinsettias and red ornaments with no hanger to attach them to the tree.  We took off the blue ornaments and used the hangers for the red ornaments.  Unlike past years, we did not scamper up ladders.  This is not the time in the life of our nation to risk a fall and a trip to the emergency room.

The local grocery store had gotten our poinsettia order wrong.  We ordered all red; we got some red, some white, some pink/variegated.  We ordered big; we got 1 big variegated plant and the rest were the smaller plants.  The local grocery store felt so bad that they gave us 6 wreaths made with real greens.  Granted, they weren't likely to sell them yesterday.  But still, I liked the gesture, even as I wasn't sure where to put them.

I decided to begin with the easy task, the putting red balls on the trees and taking off the majority of the blue Advent balls.  As I did that, I thought about the poinsettias.  Often we've put them at the railing, but they were so tiny, I thought they might not be seen.

And so, we went with a different approach, and it was lovely.  From a distance, one couldn't see how puny the poinsettias are, and the non-Christmas colors of the paper wrapping the pots blended into the background.  We decided not to use the formal candelabras and just rely on the white candles.  

I would have been happy to spend the Christmas Eve service in silence and candles, just soaking in the beauty.  


But we had a service of readings and singing and a homily, and the Eucharist.  We had to pivot here, too, with soloists out because of sinus infections and COVID exposure.  I thought of all the weeks of drama about who would sing which song, and in the end, we had to switch some of the music.

I am not immune to the life lesson contained here: the ability to pivot, the beauty that is possible if we can let go of our preconceived notions of what the experience and the space should be.

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