". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

This Advent season has been one for the record books. Like many of you, I often find myself feeling rather frantic at this time of year. It is supposed to be a penitential and reflective time, a time to slow down and prepare for the Nativity of our Lord. Instead December is often the busiest, most frantic and harried month of the year, as I scamper mightily in an effort to check off all the things on my Christmas to-do list.

This year was no different. Then again, I guess it was different, but only inasmuch as it was even crazier than usual. In addition to all the usual stuff, we have this little house project that is ongoing. We couldn't even think about decorating until after the drywalling was completed, and that happened less than a week ago. But, thanks be to God, it got done before Christmas, allowing us a few days in which to carve out a space in our family room for a tree.

Here was the view of our family room shortly after the drywall was primed. Everything is still moved to the center of the room, away from the walls.

Here is the result of a few hours of work. The sofa has been turned around and chairs moved into place. You can see our new track lighting with six sources of illumination that can be pointed in any direction. This is not how our family room will ultimately look. This is not exactly how the furniture will be. The bookshelf that is sitting in the middle of the room (you can see the back of it), plus several others, will soon be history, replaced by built-ins on either side of the fireplace. In time I hope that metal school cabinet in the distance will find a different place to live. A desk that belonged to my father-in-law will be moved in, as will a television. But the immediate goal here was simply to create space for a Christmas tree and present opening. That was accomplished! (Aside to Elephant's Child, my decorating conscience: what do you think of the light? And the sofa in the middle of the room functioning, along with the light, as a room divider?)

Here's the fireless (for now) fireplace. It used to be a 2-way that opened out to the sunroom. The sunroom is no more, as are the glass panels that used to be on either side of the fireplace. We could have returned the house to its previous state and put windows in those spots, but we opted instead to close the walls entirely and put in bookcases. Those can't come soon enough! (Note: you can see some of the water damage sustained over the past few years on the carpet in the far corner. We are not replacing the carpet at this time. That corner will eventually be covered up with a bookcase. Some day we hope to rip out the carpet and replace it with wood floors. Some day. )

We usually have a real tree and we usually decorate it a few weeks before Christmas. This year it was an artificial tree decorated on Christmas Eve morning. This picture was taken on Christmas Day after Santa came and before Evan woke up.

You will notice there are no stockings. This year they were hung with care not over the fireplace (no mantel yet) but by the front door on the coat rack. I assured Evan that Santa would find them there (and he did).

A close-up of the gifts from Santa:

Time to open presents. Hey, it's just what I wanted!

That's a nice, close shave there, Dad. New razor, huh? (Bonus points to the first out-of-towner to appreciate the significance of this photo.)

Brotherly love. :-)

Enjoying a new book!

And another! (We have no problem with books for Christmas in this house.)

Pretty girl. I wish I could wake up looking this naturally beautiful.

Shiloh got as many presents as anyone!

A new game for Dad!

Shiloh likes the pillow pet, too.

I hope your Christmas was a happy one, too. But even more, I hope it was a joyous one, because happiness comes and goes, but the joy of the Lord--the Christ Child--is abiding. He came for all, which means He came for you. And having come to this earthly prison, he gathers you up in His arms so as to carry you with Him to Calvary and beyond. Merry Christmas!

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