DECEMBER 24: I woke up having slept 8 hrs through the night. Awesome!
First thing in the morning the postman put a box inside our front porch door! A total surprise from my friend Tricia Anders! Inside were a print of her painting THE GIRL WHO SWALLOWED A TREE (My current favorite of all her paintings!) 2 pomegranates, and a beautiful abalone shell! What a surprise! I cried a little bit, so touched. Tom saw what she had sent and said, “Wow, that woman must really like you.” I feel so blessed to have her friendship! Thank you Tricia! The timing of the gift was perfect! The 24th was a difficult day for me this year.
I got the house cleaned as much as I could til my energy ran out.
I made the homemade lime sherbet that is Tom’s Christmas tradition from his childhood. I did not get an opportunity to bake Pepparkakor to go with it for him, but had picked up some Anna’s Swedish Ginger Cookies from the store for him to serve with his sherbet. They do come from Sweden and he is quite fond of them, they are reminiscent of cookies his Aunt Anna Olson made for him when the family would visit her.
I put a meatless lasagna together to be ready to pop into the oven when we returned from the 5:00 Christmas Eve service out at the country church.
Tom had not found time to write a sermon for Christmas Eve, as is his custom during Advent and Christmas seasons he tells Christmas Stories for his sermons. I “wrote” his Christmas Eve Sermon for him giving him a story I’d received in e-mail the day before, about a Christmas Pagent (complete with brawling shepherd as was our own Christmas program the previous Sunday). It worked well for him and the congregations both loved it. It makes me giggle to think that the pastor’s witchy wife wrote his sermon. Ha! He got a giggle about it too.
We came home from church and I went to turn on the oven, my oven had pooped out! I was so unhappy! I cooked the pan of lasagna in the microwave, it was edible, Tom said it was good, but I wasn’t overly impressed, It just didn’t have that baked cheese flavor that it gets in the oven.
I wore the new blouse, camisole, and sweater that Julie and Matt gave me for my birthday, and the beautiful silver necklace that Julie’s best friend Catherine gave me for my birthday. I loved the outfit!
The service was quite nice but I was miserable. I ended up sitting alone. I was the only person there who wasn’t surrounded by loved ones. I felt so lonely and alone, missing the kids so much! For years Julie has played the piano for the service out at Mt. Carmel, she is loved much and people kept asking where she was! That did not help my state of mind much.
I could not sing the carols; I kept choking on the lump of misery in my throat.
I felt lonely, sad, and I was exhausted by the pace of the week and all the prep for the holiday I’d done, the caroling, the cleaning of the house. I was not truly alone as Tom was here for Christmas, but there is something about sitting alone on Christmas Eve with him behind the altar or in the pulpit that is decidedly lonely. When I went to the altar rail for communion I could not look him in the eye as I usually do because I knew I would start crying.
Feeling as I did Christmas Eve, I who was NOT truly alone gained a new understanding and empathy for those who are alone on these Hallmark holidays. I will be more sensitive to those others; perhaps I will step out of my comfort zone more often and do what I can to ease their pain and loneliness.
After the service out at Mt. Carmel, the church treasurer gave Tom a card that contained a gift from an anonymous person. Even the treasurer did not know who gave the gift, but inside was a cashier’s check, the amount in FOUR FIGURES, a gift for Tom. Simply unbelievable! He will part of that and the rest is going to put it in savings; our savings were thinned considerably this year when we helped John out after Angie left. What a generous gift, and being anonymous, I hope that that person or persons are blessed beyond the blessing they gave to Tom.
I prepared a simple salad to accompany the lasagna, simply 4 ingredients, Romaine, Feta cheese, black pepper, and pomegranate seeds (from one of Tricia’s pomegranates). When I went to get the bottle of Raspberry Vinaigrette to dress the salad, the dressing had disappeared. It shows up on the LONG receipt from the grocery store, but is nowhere to be found in the cupboard or refrigerator. But I whipped up a balsamic vinaigrette and that worked well with the salad.
Tom had never eaten pomegranates before, he loved it!
The French bread and balsamic dipping oil were delicious! It was hard to eat that in moderation! We’re looking forward to that again when we eat more of the leftover lasagna.
We shut off all the lights except for the tree, and lit all our candles while we were dining. Quite nice.
We watched parts of A CHRISTMAS STORY marathon on TNT network both before and after dinner. I fell asleep sometime, and did not hear Tom leave for the 11:00 service next door. I woke up a few times catching bits of the movie now and again.
Tom got home sometime after midnight. He still had to write a sermon for the next morning. Again I came to the rescue finding him a story and suggesting thoughts he could share that would make it more personal for the two congregations. He actually accepted my help. He was exhausted!
We decided that we would open gifts and empty Christmas stockings on Christmas afternoon after he was finished with all church activities so that we were not rushed and could have a bit of Christmas that was entirely ours after his church duties were finished.
We had a few crackers, a bit of cheese and sausage, a Christmas cookie, and lime sherbet after he got home from the late service. He did enjoy the sherbet so much!
We got to bed about 2AM.