December 25th, 2005

light in the darkness

My brother has a vanilla-scented car freshener.

[Advent day 28] Luke 2:16-20
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Zomg I have so much stuff.  Rearranging the house to fit Christmas (namely, the tree) I was reminded of this.  And of course it feels overwhelming like, "How do I even start?"  Which doesn't help.

I'm working on clearing out the huge amounts of fic I've bookmarked to read and I find I'm just commenting on the parts I like and not mentioning what didn't work, and I feel like I'm a slacker plus I'm losing concrit karma, though at least the fic isn't making it onto my To Rec list, so I know I still have standards.

scrollgirl brought to my attention that the Smithie Republican on The West Wing is played by the same actress as the blonde chick on CSI: Miami.  The conspiracy to get me to watch The West Wing continues.
An overnight in a Newark airport hotel and now it's off with the family to warm places for a week which will, I trust, burn off this hellish cold-cough-sneezy thing. ("If I die," I told Mike, with the gloomy relish of the afflicted, "this will all be yours." "You're giving me your cold?" he asked, unimpressed.)

In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas, Chanukkah, Kwaanza, Mithras's Birthday, Festive Wossname etc. Or have more than one.

And please don't break the internet while I'm away.

-Neil Gaiman
Commenter #1 on the LJ feed (svetosila) commented:
The Internet is a Godsend,
so I doubt it'll be that easily broken even on HIs\Her\Its B'day


10pm Christmas Eve service at United.

I think I'm used to Smith Vespers, 'cause I was totally expecting the sanctuary to have low lighting when we came in, or to at least have the lights dimmed once the service started.

Oh, and we have blue pulpit drapes even though the Advent Wreath has purple candles.


  • Hymn: O Come, All Ye Faithful
  • Call to Worship: Isaiah 9:6
  • Scripture Reading: John 1:1-14 ["Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."  On whom his favor rests?  I am disconcerted.]
  • Vocal Selection: Sweet Little Jesus Boy [Pastor Bill sings this every year, so I have animosity toward it -- at least in this context.  It is a good song, though.  "But please, sir, forgive us Lord, we didn't know 'twas You," is always what strikes me most -- "Whatever you did to the least of these you did to me" and all that.]
  • Lighting of the Christ Candle [including reading: Luke 1:68-69]
  • Choral Selection: Rejoice With Exceeding Great Joy
  • Offertory: O Holy Night [harp&organ, no vocals]
    It always feels sort of dirty to me to take an Offering during Christmas Eve service, like that's not what it's supposed to be about
  • Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-8
  • Hymn: Angels We Have Heard On High
  • Scripture Reading: Luke 2:9-14
  • Meditation [I always forget there's a sermon on Christmas Eve.  Again, it feels like not the point, though tonight at least I was actually glad, as listening to a sermon forces you to think at least a little and I endorse thinking -- since I'm all intentional about my hymn singing and most people aren't necessarily.  4 points?  Seemed a bit much to me.  He actually only talked for ~15 minutes, which for him is amazing.  I think it would have been a better sermon if it had been more focused.  Highlights: "Do not be afraid."  Apparently variants on "Fear not" appear 365 times in the Bible -- convenient for the calendar we have.  God came not to bring religion but to bring relationship.  God wants us to know Him.  Christmas is not about Santa or anything else but about Jesus.  All the good things we associate with "the holiday season" should be year round.  He said the holiday season can often be a time of conflict and he didn't mention the "war on Christmas" but instead listed examples such as having to see relatives you don't particularly like, and he talked about relationship there, too, about asking ourselves who we need to forgive and whom we need to ask forgiveness -- and because I went to school with Ruhi I thought of Yom Kippur.]
  • Hymn: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
  • Communion Observance [I always say I'm jarred -- though pleased -- that we have Communion on Christmas Eve, but I've talked about it so much that I was actually expecting it.  In the Invitation this time, though, PB talked both about confessing our sins before we come to the table and also about being cleansed by Christ's blood.  I admit I haven't been to UCN on a Communion Sunday in a while and I don't pay all that much attention to the Invitation, but I definitely don't have any sense of having grown up with a pre-Communion Confession tradition, and since it was part of the Invitation it definitely would only have been a personal silent Confession.]
  • Lighting of the Christmas Candles [This is when they extinguish all the lights in the sanctuary.]
  • Hymn: Silent Night! Holy Night!