Yesterday I spent a much needed day in the kitchen making an enormous vat of stock (hopefully enough to last about 6 months), bread and oatmeal cookies. The stock was really very good, I think. I had a couple of lamb bones as well as turkey and chicken carcasses and it was a beautiful golden color. And I expunged and cleaned the fridge. Its nourishingly satisfying to spend a whole day in the kitchen, without a dreaded holiday to make it stressful.
And the baby has started to say 'goo' (such a cliche :)). This strikes me as remarkably early to me, showing her obvious and impressive intelligence. She's holding her head up so well, I let Emma hold her and walk up and down briefly.
And lately, as in the last two weeks, I've been working part time at The Christmas Tree Shop. I've been loath to bring it up online for fear of inciting pity and 'how on earth do you have time' comments (I don't know how I have time, maybe in retrospect I'll be able to see how it was all possible), but its been such an interesting thing to do, and, obviously, I've been spending a lot of time at it, that I don't want to keep it from the blog world. (I keep thinking I'll post about interesting topics, but I don't have time to think about things right now, so all you're going to get is what's going on).
So, my first and only observation for this evening (because I'm, frankly, tired, and about to eat a nicely roasted potato and go to bed), is that Christmas is rotten without Jesus. I found myself praying for people as they went through my line. Overall people looked stressed out, tired, sometimes angry, definitely not happy, buying cart fulls of stuff in a desperate way to give away. And they have to be sure and hang on to their receipts so that the gift that is given on Tuesday can be quickly returned on Wednesday. As the days get closer to Christmas, people get more desperate and less happy about shopping.
Its a starkly dark and unhappy contrast to church, where things are somber but exciting. My Christmas preparations have been all about the Christmas pageant and writing out Advent prophecy cards for the atrium, and singing O Come O Come Emmanuel with my children. I haven't even been shopping.
But it's into this dark, this despair, this desperation that Jesus came. So interesting to be working in a shop that bears the name of this event, 'Christmas', full of people who have never heard of him. It actually makes me rather excited to be there, spiritually, and I'm afraid of accidentally proselytising :) and loosing my job. But I now have a whole new realm of people to pray for that I didn't know about and I'm glad to be there, and sell people a lot of stuff they don't need, and pray that they'll think better of it over night and bring it back.