Well, Christmas Day has come and gone. It
is trite to say that this day comes and goes faster than any other 24 hours in
the whole year, but it is true, isn’t it?
     For months we put our thoughts and
energies into planning and preparing for this one extraordinary day and then
WHOOSH, it comes and is gone. Oh we all make remarks about the need to “keep
Christmas in our hearts every day” and those of us who attempt as committed
Christians to truly live out the Christmas message throughout the year make
valiant efforts to do this thing,and we fail.
    Life
gets in the way, hard days come when the memories of this Holy time are far
from our minds, when we think dark thoughts and say dark things that have no
connection with the beautiful feelings of peace and goodwill, light and mystery
which envelope us at this Season; and the wonder is gone.
 However, I for one intend to keep trying to
hold on for as long as possible.      Heavens!
That does not mean keeping the tree up, for all too soon it will dry out and drop
its needles all over the living room floor, nor do I plan to keep drinking
coffee from my red penguin mug, or to admire Wil in his red bandana. What I
need to hold onto is not the tangible but the intangible.


Such
things as the amazing outpouring of kindness towards me, the love and warmth and the steady stream of
visitors  (expected and unexpected) who
took time from their own Christmas celebrations to knock at my front door on
Christmas Day.

 The unexpected holiness experienced at our
somewhat unconventional Christmas Eve Service, was very special. There was
mystery and a candlelit magic, which filled the somewhat scruffy old Rectory
and softened the edges of both the furnishings and the people who filled its
rooms. It was a Blessing to be there and to help in weaving the magic of the
Gathering.


  Coming home that evening, we curled up on the sofa and I slurped down a couple of bowls of Salmon Chowder. And then yesterday was my “day of visitors”. In the evening there was finally time to sit down and enjoy the ritual of gift opening.
  For many years our family always read a
series of Lutheran prayers to be used before and after opening of gifts.
   Here is the final one, which pretty well
sums up my feelings at this time.

           “The
gifts are opened. The surprises are shared. The long-awaited day is here…and
soon will be a happy memory. Soon the shredded wrapping paper will be carted
away. The gifts will find their places in our homes. The tree will be
dismantled. Yet, savour with us, one moment more, the anxious joy and happy
feelings of this moment. Help us to take them with us, yourself, O Lord. Come
with us. Make your Christmas presence evident in our lives. Then we will be
ever-green with your life. Then we, like the tree, will always point to you!
Amen.”
     Before getting to work on painting some Thank you notes, I’ll just close off with a recipe. No one needs any extra poultry at this Season so I often enjoy a stir-fry. This bowl makes a quick and yummy dinner after all the feasting.

                                              Shitake Stir-Fry

     2 large eggs, lightly beaten

     2 tsps. olive oil
     1 small onion, finely chopped
     1 garlic clove, minced
     1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
     10 oz. Shitake mushrooms, sliced
     2 carrots, julienned
     6 oz, snow peas, strings removed & halved diagonally
     2 cups cooked basmati rice
     2 Tbsps. each soy sauce, and rice vinegar

      

     Heat 1
tsp. oil in a large sauté pan, pour in the eggs and cook until set. Slide the
thin omelet onto a flat plate, cool and then cut into narrow slices. While the
omelet is cooling, heat the remainder of the oil and saut
é the onion for 2-4
minutes. Add carrots and cook until they begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Add
mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and snow
peas and cook for several minutes, until the snow peas are bright green.
   Add rice, soy sauce and vinegar and toss
together, until the rice is heated through. Fold in the sliced egg. Serve
immediately. Serves 2.