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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 6: Preparing

It's Friday and I have a full week-end ahead so I am up early trying to sort it all out. First, I am preparing the house because we have guests coming to stay with us. Three university students from North Park University, (our alma mater, where we went to seminary and college as well as where I was Campus Pastor for 5 years before we moved to Sweden) who are studying in Sweden this semester are coming to Stockholm. We know their parents because we went to college with them. I remember when I went to college and many of my classmates knew my mom, who also attended the same school. It's a weird and wonderful aspect of attending a small, liberal arts university with strong church ties. So, they are coming and I am looking forward to hearing about their experiences while they've been on this side of the pond. One of the girl's mother is one of my closest fact, she, along with the woman I went to Rome with are my two closest friends from college and the 3 of us have kept up pretty well. I love to have people into our home because I feel so blessed that we have such a lovely place. The photograph today shows the table in our entry. Hopefully it represents warmth and welcoming. Gud Jul, by the way, means Merry Christmas in Swedish.
The second thing I am preparing for is our Children's Christmas Pageant. We have a rehearsal tomorrow morning with the microphones and well, you can imagine how excited 8 year old kids get when they get their hands on a microphone. We have three wireless microphones as well, that you wear on your ear and you feel very much like a rock star and there is much jockeying regarding who gets to wear those. These are the big decisions I have to make. Additionally, the angel Gabriel is tiny in stature so I have to figure out how to best make him seen. Sometimes this program is stressful. I have to remind myself that it's not about the performance, it's about the magic and wonder of children pointing us to the Christ child. I am excited about it and think it will be adorable...our children are a very fine looking bunch.
The final thing I am preparing for is Ken's funeral on Sunday. It's weird to think that in the midst of Christmas we are going to bury someone we have dearly loved for 10 years. The kids will have to say good-bye to the physical evidence of their dad and Geri will have to publicly mourn her new found status as a single woman. I can prepare for the worship service but preparing for the new way of life that awaits our church and the family will definitely be a work in progress.
But again I reminded of what a mixture of emotions those involved in the first Christmas went through. Fear was a common thread. Zachariah was afraid, Mary was afraid, Joseph too. The shepherds were positively terrified and in each instance God sent an angel to comfort them, to utter these wonderful words: "Fear Not for I bring you good news of a great joy." It is indeed that good news that sustains us as we prepare for both the joy of little children leading us to Christ and the sorrow of losing a loved one who is now with Christ. May the good news of great joy follow you throughout your preparations in the days ahead.