I love the joy and anticipation of the Christmas season, but boy was this year's busy. Multiple times throughout the season I felt like I was on a runaway train. I knew we were going the right direction and where we were going was good, but I had no control of the speed and no ability to stop. I'm thankful that our season was merry and bright. We baked lots of cookies. We did crafts. We did Christmas programs and pageants. We really built up anticipation for Christmas! But WHEW! I'm thankful for the relative peace of the Epiphany season.
I'm writing this on a flight back into Boston. We had a great post-Christmas trip to Texas to visit my family. We went to celebrate my Dad's retirement. After 37 years in the ministry, he gave his last sermon as a full time pastor. And then his congregation threw him a big retirement party. The ladies who planned it compared it to organizing a wedding reception. It was certainly larger than my wedding. There were people from my childhood who attended. It was like a mini reunion. It was wonderful to see a pastor acknowledged for the legacy of his work - the weddings, baptisms, confirmations, funerals, and regular pastoral care of the hundreds of parishioners who have passed through his congregations. Being a pastor isn't a job. It's a calling and a lifestyle. And I'm very proud of what my Dad's done.
Of course the girls didn't really understand the party. They just knew that they were spending a fun week with Nana, Pawpaw, and other relatives. They just knew that we were outside in the warm sum and rough housing with Nana and Pawpaw Monster. They just knew they were having a lot of fun. We just knew there were other adults around to play with the girls and hold the baby. It was a great vacation for everyone.
So here we go, back to reality. I'm looking forward to a stable routine. The days will gradually get longer. The warmth will eventually return. We celebrated the coming of the Son. Now we turn to the anticipation of the sun.
Until then, we'll strive to keep the days merry, if not bright.