Cookies, cookies, cookies.
Christmas and cookies go hand in hand here, to the extent that Billy is beginning to think that they constitute one of our three meals a day, as he’s offered one almost every time he walks out of the house. He just had the unusual experience of watching six hundred or so cookies being packed into pretty bags to be given away, rather than eaten. A definite look of confusion every time a bag was removed from his hand as he moved it in the direction of his mouth.
Traditional Christmas hits our church this evening, as we throw open the doors for a carol service. We’re praying that friends, neighbours and acquaintances along the way might join us as we sing of, hear about and rejoice in the truth of Emmanuel, our mighty God becoming small in a manger to wonderfully save on the cross.
The bags of cookies will be stuffed in handbags, eaten in the car, saved for the morning or simply eaten there and then as people leave, hopefully thinking about what they’ve heard as well as savouring the sugary delights.
Throughout Advent, we’ve been gradually walking through the Christmas story – dipping in to various children’s bibles, gathering felt finger puppets each day (made by my talented sister), lighting a candle each tea time to count down the days. And flitting from one Christmas themed activity to the next, according to my energy levels and capacity for messy creativity! Hearing the simplest of retellings of the most remarkable of stories had reminded me again and again of the wonder of God stepping into humanity, out of his outrageous love for us, and taking the path of the cross so that we might have life. There’s something about having it stripped back in language and detail for a preschooler that brings clarity, but also surprise all over again.
While December has been filled with Christmas anticipation, it’s also been characterised by parcels and packages coming and going. Boxes arriving, but also many packages going out as we’ve been labelling, stuffing and sending jiffy bags of thousands of books to meet a pre-Christmas deadline. The boys often wake up to a living room full of ready-to-send parcels, and are used to a daily pit stop at the post office while boxes are unloaded and wheeled into the disbelieving staff, who can’t believe there’s more to come!
Excitement levels at boxes being delivered, and packages being sent, have waned as the numbers have risen. And the boys are blasé about boxes being stacked around the sofa. It’s not so much about the content now, but how they can be used for castles.
Amidst all the busyness, and floods of packages, we pray that we wouldn’t lose sight of the simple, exciting, outrageous reality of Christmas and that the boys would glimpse it, and rejoice in it more and more as they grow up.