So my family will be here in one hour. The ham is not yet in the oven. I'm waiting on other side dishes to come out. The house is hot because the oven has been on all afternoon. I have not re-done my face or hair, and I fear I look like housekeeping personnel in a Phoenix hotel in July. I'll try to keep from seasoning the artichoke/spinach dip with salty sweat. Eww.
The immediate family, excluding the husband, has been, shall we say, under- contributive, plus, they are grumpy. For instance, this morning, in the church service, the college student left where our family was seated and went to chat with friends. In the meantime, a sibling switched seats with her. When she returned, she was not happy. Mind you, we're trying to figure out what all the hubbub is while the lights are dimmed and music is starting, and she is apparently livid. All I heard her say over the beautiful carol was, "You bunch of jerks" to the brother and sister. I just looked at her and nearly shouted, "Hey, Sweetie, and a Merry Christmas to you, too!"
My extended family is coming, or at least some of them. Other siblings of mine, who refuse to RSVP one way or another, may grace us with their presence--or not. I have some lovely TV trays at which I may place them should they guest star tonight.
I have been through a week of a mother-in-law's funeral, the conflict that surely arises every time there's a death in any family, a mass wherein the priest started the ceremony before the family and body got to the church, and a tad of marital conflict thrown in for good measure.
But, in spite of how much I don't want to be doing this tonight or how tired I am or how aggravated I am with lazy children, I will not let the frustrations steal my joy.
This morning, our pastor briefly reminded us that no matter what our expectations are about today and tomorrow, something will go wrong. Something will burn (for me, it's always the rolls baking at the last minute--black on bottom, underdone on top); something will spill; someone will say something inconsiderate, Uncle Eldo may cloister himself away in the den watching football, and the kids may fight, but those are all periphery incidentals. To paraphrase Job, "Even though they (my family) slay me, yet will I [rejoice] in the Lord."
Ultimately, the reason I'm putting out fruitcake for my 84 year old father (who may be the last and only human who ever asked for fruitcake for Christmas) is to celebrate our God who came near us--became one of us--all those years ago, bridging the great divide bewtween Him and us.
Benadryl, swollen eyes, grief, frustrating children and thoughtless, hurtful people--you cannot bring me down. "For unto us was born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." He has brought indomitable Joy to my World! May you experience His joy and peace as well. Merry Christmas!
P.S. on 12/25/06: I had a lovely time with my family, especially my brother, Don, who is pictured above.