This past week leading up to Christmas was not the week I’d planned; you’d think I’d learn. As our party was winding down Monday night, something in my body was winding up, and I lost four whole days to it, whatever it was. It could be my own gallbladder trying to murder me, but by the time I actually went to the doctor (Friday) to rule out gallbladder disease, heart attack, etc., everything checked out okay.
“Okay” does not get my four days back.
I had things to do, shopping to finish, meals to fix for the fam, games to play, carols to sing, services to attend. My body said, “No, we’re going to hang out upstairs and alternate between pain, sickness, and sleep. Got that?”
(This is why, BTW, if you happen to be on our Christmas Card list, you will be getting a card from us a bit late. Sorry. It was on the list of things to do Tuesday, when I mostly crept around trying to pretend like the worst was over.)
Here’s the thing, though. Stuff went on without me. My Beloved and kids had a great time together. They cooked, watched football, played some dance game on Jeff’s Kinnect.
Their big project, though, was to make a gingerbread . . . Death Star.
When I hesitantly ventured downstairs, I discovered a space station on our dining room table, under construction in a stainless steel bowl. It had toothpicks for scaffolding. Nearby, a bunch of disproportionally huge TIE fighters could be found in formation on a plate, with a couple of them looking like they’d been scorched in battle. Two big X-wing fighters had marshmallow jets on the back. A number of other “wings” had a severely nibbled look, and something that could have been part of a spaceship or Jabba the Hutt had been iced and then mostly eaten.
Other people’s kids make traditional gingerbread houses, with peppermint doorknobs, Necco wafer roofs, gumdrop landscaping, etc. MY children make a gingerbread copy of the Death Star from Return of the Jedi, AND they blow it up. They also made TIE fighters and X-wing fighters from the same movie. The nondescript, mostly eaten thing in the previous paragraph turned out to be a gingerbread analog of Jek Porkins, the X-wing pilot whose tragic death in the first movie in no way offsets his hilarious name.
If, upon reading this, you expect the kids to be, oh, about twelve, you’d be off by better than a hundred percent. Three of them are 25, and one is 21. In years lived, they represent 96. In maturity, they are somewhere between kindergarten and Yoda.
I’m not sure I have a point, except to say that this has not been our traditional Christmas in any sense. I missed a lot of stuff that I thought, on Monday, was essential. It turns out, the essential things happened a couple of thousand years ago, and this other stuff is just our culture’s way of saying “Woo-hoo!” The cultural layering doesn’t really make much of a difference, no matter what I might have thought a week ago.
What matters is that Love has come into the very world He created — not for some, or for just me, or for people who think a certain way, but for everybody. Done. Finished. Consider yourselves loved, for you are. Merry Christmas!