Tonia and Andy arrived in the Oak on Wednesday. After a satisfying dinner and then grilling my sister's boyfriend, we went out to the Baird Farm's Christmas lights, followed by drinks at the Pit Stop. Thursday I bravely took them back into public by treating them to lunch buffet at Pizza Hut. Afterward we toured Evergreen Cemetery searching for the grave of the soldier killed on the USS Maine in the Spanish-American War (Sorry you didn't get to see that when you visited, Corey). I couldn't remember where it was exactly so we stopped to ask the grounds manager. Turns out it's down the brick road.
It was good to have them visit, and we had lots of laughs. Who's coming to the Oak next?
Dad has put me in charge of going to the liquor store today as well as cooking dinner. We'll be going to Midnight Mass at 7:30 tonight and then the Schmids will be coming over for a cup of Christmas cheer.
One of my greatest Christmas memories is being asked to read the first reading of Midnight Mass, Isaiah 9:1-6, one year when I was in middle school. It was the first time I ever lectored, and I was privileged to proclaim one of the most beautiful passages of Scripture:
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
For every boot that tramped in battle,
every cloak rolled in blood,
will be burned as fuel for flames.
For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
from David's throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!