We've had a couple weeks of pretty intense holidaying here.
Guests overnight the beginning of Christmas week, December 23rd party with old friends at my parents' house (about 35 people), Christmas Eve with immediate, those-living-in-this-house family (16 of us), Christmas Day here with married siblings and their families and some of Mom's family (count 29), New Year's Eve party at our friends' house, New Year's Day here again with all of my parents' kids and grandkids.
The partying isn't over. This Thursday for the first time we'll be celebrating Epiphany (the three wise men and the gospel's advent to the gentiles), and some of us will head to Montana to celebrate the wedding of some friends. Then we have Lydia's 11th birthday on the 11th, and some kind of early birthday bash for Maria and I since our birthday fall just after we will leave for Moscow.
On top of those, add our weekly Saturday night Sabbath feast. Add Sundays, which contain some combination of resting, going to church, eating sweet and tasty things prepared the day before, playing games and putting puzzles together, and a movie in the evening.
It seems as if the weight of glory in feasting and celebrating will never end. It seems as if we ought to be getting tired of thinking up and preparing and setting the table for and filling ourselves with and cleaning up after things like truffles and ham and russian punch, and scones and lemon curd and wine, all the apple pie and apple crisp and crispy bacon and baked beans, the buttery rolls and honey and pizza and bowls of roasted nuts and smoked turkey. It seems like we shall all have to restrict our diets severely in the months following, and exercise our waists back to where they belong.
Yet such is the reality of Christmas. God is this bountiful. He gives until we are full, and then refills our plate. He surrounds us with mounds of snow and the heat of a wood fire and shelves of old books and warm wool socks, and then forgives our sins. We have sunlight on our faces, and hugs from people who care, and steam rising from a french press coffee maker, and we have Christ as our brother.
Will we ever know how to truly celebrate? Will we know how to rejoice without ceasing every moment of our lives?
Right now my muscles for gladness and feasting and loving and singing, for forgiving and healing and teaching others, for gratitude and imitation of Christ, are all pitifully small, thin and weak. I ache from both my own inadequacy and the excess that is being poured into me. My heart tingles like your hands do when you come inside and run warm water over your fingers in the sink; it tingles as the cold of selfishness and laziness and bitterness of my old flesh meets with the glow of grace from my Savior.
One day: Living in His likeness. Glory and praise all day long. Unbearable brightness upon our faces. And a feast that the ages have been awaiting.
Let us learn and wait in delight.