Saturday, December 24, 2005

Deep winter

Winter solstice has passed marking the deepest, darkest point of the winter. Ahead of the solstice came snow and bitter cold. As the hours of daylight shortened and shortened, the cold intensified and the snow piled up.

Like it does, the weather is now moderating. Snow is turning to slush and the sky, even on a sunny day, is hazy and grey.

Christmas time.

Family will gather here tonight. We'll eat, open some gifts and wander off to church services. At one time we could say the extended family patronized doggone near every church in town. Things are a smaller scale now with people having passed and others moving away.

Lately, my own church-going is limited to occasions: a baptism, Christmas, a special service. Not so long ago church was every Sunday and I spent a fair amount of time volunteering. Not so much now.

It's not that anything happened. First it was other activities, then it was general business, and now it's limited interest. Sunday is one day that I don't usually have to climb out of bed and make a forced march into work. Oh, we're all still up and at it but the hubbub is for a hockey game or other such thing.

But, I'm looking forward to the Christmas Eve service tonight. It's very traditional and I think I'll find some comfort in the shared familiarity of the rituals and communion. And there's the singing. Methodists have the best hymn book in the business. Not that Christmas is a big test for the Methodist hymnal since most of the songs are shared widely within the Christian faith.

Still, I look forward to the comfort. And I wish and pray for peace and comfort for this whole old world. Too many people's lives torn up, too much wreckage. Time to breath deep and face ways to make some positive changes in the time ahead.

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