December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas to all!

Christ of his gentleness,
Thirsting and hungering
Walked in the wilderness; 
Soft words of grace he spoke
Unto lost desert-folk
That listened wondering.
–Robert Graves

I wanted to take a minute to wish everyone a very merry Christmas! Last night I snuggled on the couch with my four nieces and nephews to eat popcorn and watch a Christmas movie and it was one of my best moments this season. The tragedy last weekend in Newton has made those moments seem especially dear. I've been bursting with gratitude to have the opportunity to live close to all of my little ones (some not so little anymore, but still!), to be their auntie, and to feel nurturing and protective and totally in love with each of them. They really help me to not lose faith in humanity when so many crazy things would prompt me to feel otherwise.

Although I've lived in Southern Utah for 2 1/2 years now, this will be my first Christmas in the desert and I'm so looking forward to it! I saw snow in Salt Lake City last weekend and it felt like enough to tide me over...forever. :) I feel blessed to live in a landscape that makes sense to my soul. When I was 19 years old I studied in Israel and on one field trip we sat in Shepherd's Field overlooking Bethlehem and sang Christmas hymns in July. It's one of my favorite desert memories and I'm reminded of that now when I look out my window.

We don't have a lot of Christmas traditions that tend to stick for more than a few years, but there are two things I can always count on. First are parents who do all they can to make sure we spend a lot of time together as a family. They have always made us feel loved and welcomed--and that we each have a place in their home (at any time). Second is lots of food! My mom plans out every meal in great detail...and there are family favorites we can always count on. My parents do so much to make us feel comfortable and that is really a gift.

I made most of my Christmas gifts this year and I've realized that really helps put me in the right spirit. They are nothing fancy, but I put a lot of thought and love into them. Hopefully the recipients will feel that too! :)

I love you all and hope for you to have a very merry and bright Christmas!!

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