The Advent of Redemption

December 19, 2017

Survey 2018

January 2, 2018

In the Aftermath of Christmas

December 27, 2017

In the aftermath of Christmas, our cupboard is cluttered with goodies. A plate of monster cookies and a quarter of a bucket of raisin-filled cookies, candy canes, the remnants of a cheese ball, an assortment of candied peanuts, a bowl of popcorn spices, two giant Reese cups with a mini pie-shaped slice cut from one of them, whipped honey and honey comb and honey sticks, a small basket of assorted teas, a single piece of angel food cake on a large white plate.

Every item has some person, some memory associated with it, so looking at the cupboard is like looking at a giant scrapbook of Christmas past. The monster cookies are my favorite. I came home one day to find Dad elbow deep in a five-gallon bucket, mixing the dough for them, grumpy because he hadn’t known how big the batch was nor how long they would take to make.

In the aftermath of Christmas, a puzzle board on a fold-out table in the living room displays two completed puzzles. We always do a puzzle around Christmas time; it’s our tradition. This year, they were easy, five-hundred piece only and one of them already half completed when we took it out of the box. I started to break the pieces apart, but “It’s such a shame to break it up,” said my sister Jennie. So we left it. Elizabeth snapped in the last piece of that puzzle the next morning, exclaimed over the lion with his piercing puzzle eyes and a lamb nestled between his paws.

In the aftermath of Christmas, my dad turned sixty. His birthday comes on December 26. He says as a little boy he used to hate that his birthday came so soon after a holiday. People would hand him one gift and say, “Here’s your Christmas and birthday present.” And what fun was that, when other children got two?

Birthdays are less fun in general when one is sixty instead of six. I think my dad was a little sad to have stepped past the fifty mark. But we plan to celebrate his birthday tonightโ€”eat birthday cake and smoothies and give him sixty brown-paper wrapped gifts. I hope that he will have fun and feel valued.

In the aftermath of Christmas, there are decisions to make, plans for the coming year. Which weekend would work for a bacho-family outing? Just the seven of us, before my brother Benny gets married in the spring. Who makes the phone calls and finds the information Chad and I need to get our visas before our trip to China in April? Can I spare a January weekend to visit a friend in Arizona, and which airline will give me a good deal on tickets? And all importantly, now that the year is almost past and my patience is nearing its end, what computer should replace my crippled old oneโ€”a Windows or a Mac?

In the aftermath of Christmas, my phone claims it is twenty-two degrees below zero outside. And that is just too cold. Global warming has forgotten Wisconsin, one of the few states that would appreciate it.

In the aftermath of Christmas, I realize again how sated I am. All these good things I and my family have in abundance. More food than we know what to do with. So many things they come pouring from closets because we don’t have enough space to keep them. A big, warm house on cold winter days. Money enough to travel, to buy things, to easily claim convenience and pleasure. Each other. Together. Love.

In the aftermath of Christmas, I feel guilty at my own satiety. But of course guilt doesn’t help those who are cold or hungry or sick or alone.

Love does.

In the aftermath of Christmas, as I make plans for the coming year, I remember also the least of these. What can I do in 2018 to help?


    1. It is the sister right above me, Jennie, wearing the Santa hat. Sometimes people who only know one or the other of us get us confused. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. China?!
    I’m happy for you.
    I felt a lot of emotions while reading this. Happy birthday to your dad and all the best in your computer search. Victoria is looking for one too. And oh my! What a momentous decision.
    And yes, how to help and love and LIFT in the new year…

    1. Yes. And thank you. I’ll bet Victoria is getting a computer with thoughts of SMBI coming up. My sister Elizabeth is looking for one, too.

  2. What a beautiful piece of writing. Thank you for sharing it. I pray that you will give the Lord the details and that you focus on the King of kings. I look forward to hearing about your preparation for China as well as reading about the blessings you will encounter on your trip.

    1. Thank you, Mollie! I will definitely write more about the China trip, and focusing on the King of kings is a good reminder.

    1. I wish I could! Maybe next trip across the world. ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, guilt and self pity, both of which I struggle with at times, can immobilize love.

  3. I am stuck at the image of your dad mixing the enormous cookie batch in a bucket, because this happens to me with monster cookies, and i grumpily forget from one occasion to the other that the recipes are all so giant.
    Blessings on the new year! It sounds exciting.

  4. Wonderful piece….Again. Love the way your writing flows, almost like a train of thought novel. As to your computer, all I know are HP’s running Windows. They have served me well. I wish you peace and blessings in the new year as I look forward to your next installment.

  5. Merry Christmas Lucinda. Your writing is such a joy to read. I love your family tradition of doing a puzzle together ๐Ÿ™‚ and I’m excited like everyone else to hear all about and see pics of your China travels !! ~ It looks like an exciting year coming up for you. Blessings – Linda

  6. You are a generous soul and give so much of yourself in your writing and otherwise. My house is full of goodies too. I have had a church social and a family brunch this holiday season. My guests come in the door with sweet stuff. I wish I had had some of it in the car with me to give to the gentleman who helped me with jumper cables this afternoon.

    Blessings in the new year, Luci!

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