began last Sunday) or the date on the calendar (the 25th is still weeks away).
It was the weekend of the annual Christmas concert - one of my very favorite nights of the year. A chance to gather with old friends in an even older drafty, candle-lit stone church and sing (older still) carols. The mood of the place struck that fine balance between festive and reflective. I greeted friends - some of whom had traveled far - with what felt like an honest "Merry Christmas."
* * *
The following morning was the children's pageant at church. I arrived to find kids dressed as Mary & Joseph, shepherds, angels, wise men, and even a gold lamé star (reminiscent of Maggie Simpson in her snowsuit).
Their re-telling of the old tale was adorable, even if the baby playing Jesus couldn't be counted on to cooperate and lie still for the entire pageant. And those words that Luke wrote - how many times have I heard them? Yet they still makes my heart flutter with both familiarity and awe. It was good to hear them. It was good to sing "Joy to the World," again.
* * *
Afterwards we had friends over for cookie-decorating and champagne (my roommate's tradition, which I was happy to carry out). Through the kitchen window I could see rainy sidewalks, but inside we were warm and there were plenty of sprinkles and peppermint frosting to go around.
When the party ended, I sat by the lit Christmas tree (which my roommate had dragged up four (4!) flights of stairs), listening to Frank sing his holiday standards, and thinking, "Now it is not just December; now it is Christmas."
And so it begins.