Christmas has been a working holiday since I was a child.  My parents were both teachers, but my father also always played a church organ and directed a choir somewhere.  We never missed a Christmas Eve service.  They were all carefully tape recorded on a reel to reel tape recorder and had to be listened to first thing after we got home.  When you work on Christmas, you wisely take care to notice and to treasure where it is that you find the holiday, the celebration that tilts you over the edge into the birth of something new.

As I lay out the hay on the altar this morning, in anticipation of this evening’s service, its sweet fragrance spoke of the beautiful land all around us.  I know in whose fields this hay grew and who did the baling.  The ancient manger story becomes very local in the smell, the feel, the recollection of our hay.  Then there was the card that arrived from someone in Ann Arbor where I served before Mayfield.  I haven’t had any contact with this person since I moved.  On her card, she thanked me for my monthly column in Groundcover News, the Ann Arbor street paper for which I continue to write.  That column is one of my writing joys.

Christmas came in a fire too.  It was mild enough and still enough late yesterday afternoon to bank a fire in the fire pit behind the house even though it was wet from overnight rain.  Darkness descended quickly, the fire blazed, and a brand new fingernail of a moon rose.  Such a small moon confirmed for me the tiny openings through which life giving light shines boldly.  This season promises light like that.  May it be so for you and through you.  Merry Christmas!  Martha