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"Other Colors"
by Orhan Pamuk

"Eat, Pray, Love"
by Elizabeth Gilbert

December 23, 2008

’Twas Two Nights Before Christmas

’Twas Two nights before Christmas
And heard through the air
Was rushing and calling
And pulling of hair

Yes, my dears, it is that wonderful time of year when I vow that I will never get this far behind again. No Christmas cards have been sent, I haven’t finished wrapping packages and there is still one present to get.

Our plans have changed at the last minute and in some ways it gives me a little breathing space, although all of the things in the previous paragraph are still true. I would love to have a sparkling clean house, a fire roaring in the fireplace and a large, real tree decorated and smelling like the piney woods in the living room, but with the new décor (read large TV) there isn’t room for a large tree. Somehow, no matter how often I clean, something always needs more cleaning and we rarely have a fire in the fireplace because of the cat.

I have baked 9 batches of cookies and have gotten the usual box sent off to Philly. I have wrapped gifts for the three little children down the block who are serving as my grandchildren. I finally wrote a Christmas letter and sent it out via e-mail. I was relieved to get a response from a friend who said that they aren’t doing cards this year. But there are some that must be done. I love getting them and reading the letters but I don’t seem to be able to do it all. I was going to say anymore, but I don’t think I ever did. Last year my darling nieces were determined that they were going to be done shortly after Thanksgiving but they ended up the night before Christmas wrapping and staying up until the wee hours as usual.

Perhaps it is genetic. I can remember my mother wrapping packages early Christmas morning and yet she always seemed to get packages to her children with popcorn balls and homemade fudge. Perhaps this last minute rush is what has always been done. I wonder if Mary and Joseph arrived late in Bethlehem and therefore couldn’t find a room. Do you suppose Joseph gently scolded Mary for taking too long to pack the swaddling clothes? Do you suppose that having our best laid plans going awry is how God keep us humble and grateful for the arrival of His Son who came at just the right time, without the fancy wrapping and without fanfare, except of course for the angels and the shepherds and the wise men?

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