Seasonal Craziness

What a week! I found myself several times wishing I had a few moments to sit down and gather my thoughts in such a way as to present them here, but it simply did not happen. Here’s the condensed version of my week:

At the Office
In addition to diligently plowing through a huge mound of insurance applications that found their way to my desk in recent weeks, I spent a good deal of time assisting a co-worker prepare enrollment materials for a new client she recently acquired. Scheduling and prepping the monthly enrollment for a large client of ours and brainstorming with my coworkers on what to get the boss for Christmas rounded out the week.

Church Life
Tuesday night was our women’s ministry’s annual Christmas Ornament and Cookie Exchange. We had a great time, enjoyed lots of yummy holiday goodies, shared tons of cookies, and laughed a lot. If you can imagine 45 women in a white elephant-style ornament exchange, you can get a little glimpse of the antics that ensued. I had three ornaments “stolen” from me and ended up with a cute little painted metal Santa who feels right at home on my country themed tree. I brought home lots of yummy cookies, many of which have disappeared already, mostly into the belly of my chocolate-loving hubby.

After church yesterday, the Tribe of Judah (small vocal ensemble I lead) sang carols in the foyer as people were leaving. Caroling is one of my favorite things about this season.

Last night was the church Christmas Banquet, the theme of which was “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” A pickup truck pulling a trailer greeted us in the parking lot and carried us around the block to the “barn” (other side of the building) where the party was being held. The fellowship hall was decked out like the inside of a barn, complete with a huge wooden frame from which were hung lanterns. On the stage, a country Christmas tree with popcorn garland, hay bales and baskets of apples. The catered dinner was yummy, and was served by the youth, who worked as waiters and waitresses for tips that will be used to help send them to the annual Desperation Conference in Colorado. The “entertainment” (designed to be nice and simple) was Mr. Bill Spilman (our resident Santa-favoring story-teller) reading the Christmas story from Luke 2. The children, who sat on the stage while Mr. Bill read the story, tried their best to be still and quiet, but sitting through the entire passage proved to be a little too much for some of the little angels, and they turned to entertaining themselves (and the rest of us) by carefully disassembling the apple baskets, distributing the fare to their friends, and picking apart the hay, tossing it into the air, and watching it land in the hair of the unsuspecting kids sitting in front of them. They ended the evening by singing “Silent Night”. No grand holiday production could have been more memorable.

The River
We had two events this week to prepare for, the first of which was the blanket giveaway at Boardwalk apartments. We had been collecting fleece blankets to distribute to the residents of a local apartment complex that we have been working with. The Tribe of Judah caroled around the complex, and we handed out cookies and punch (we nixed the hot cocoa and cider when the day turned out to be unseasonably warm). Thanks to the generosity of those who gave, we had more than enough to give blankets to every child and baby, every single and every couple in the complex. We even had some left over, which will be given to residents of another apartment building (elderly disabled residents) where we hold a weekly Bible study. God is SO good!

Tonight is our River Christmas banquet. This will be a formal sit-down dinner, something our precious people don’t get to experience very often, and we take great pleasure in serving them start to finish. The Tribe of Judah will be caroling table-to-table and providing some special music after dinner. Can’t wait!

At Home
Most of my time at home was spent relaxing, wrapping gifts and being thankful for my husband, who has helped me with cooking, cleaning and shopping while me ankle continues to heal. He keeps making me sit down so he can take care of things. Yes, I know what a blessing I have in him, and yes, I am thankful beyond words.

So this was my week, having fun, working, and getting ready for a couple of River events. Believe it or not, in spite of the full schedule, there actually have been some precious moments when the Lord has spoke some very deep things to me this past week, one of the most powerful of which came from an unexpected source yesterday during the outreach at Boardwalk. God has a way of capturing our attention in ways unique if we are watching and listening.

Now and always, may we be like the wise men,
seeking Him with hearts filled with worship and wonder,
like the shepherds, whose fear was replaced with hope,
and like Mary, who pondered all these things in her heart.
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