"... for this holiday Friday Five, let's have a free-for-all: Write 5 items about anything connected with Christmas, which of course includes Advent. Be personal, professional, spiritual or however you are feeling!"1. I'm tired. It has been a very busy Advent Season. Flush and full and vibrant - and mostly good - except for the horrible tragedy in Newtown, Conn. (Which affected me deeply, as it did all of us). I'm tired and yet, there is more to do. My daughter arrives tomorrow. After church on Sunday we will have our family Christmas. Then my daughter leaves on Monday and I will lead worship for three services. By Tuesday at noon I'll be done. And ready for a week of rest.
2. I have a funeral today, for a fine man who made his way to the church I serve just about a year ago. He was getting on in years and having memory loss issues - so instead of driving into Detroit to attend his church he came to ours, just a few blocks away. Last summer he became ill and then died the other day. He was a gentleman and scholar, a teacher. He had no family and who knows how many friends remained? I will celebrate his life in the chapel of the church with maybe one or two other people. And I will go to the cemetery and inter his body. I may even shed a few tears.
So - not exactly Christmas related - but it is because anyone who has a funeral this week, this close to Christmas knows just how hard it is to squeeze one more thing into your schedule. But I said yes without hesitation. Because he as that kind of person. I loved the man even though I hardly knew him. Rest in peace, Ben.
3. My tree is up. The cookies are mostly baked. Our menu is planned. Tomorrow we have a little left to do - some grocery shopping, a cheesecake to make, gifts to wrap. But my sermons are done, minus last minute tweaking.
4. It snowed this morning. Only a tiny bit, a dusting. But it is pretty. Surely, that is Christmas.
5. and then there is this song, in my head this morning, a week after the tragedy, and a heart full of hope that we humans can learn to live less violently, less angry, with less of a sense of entitlement.