december at calvary
Every so often, when my fondness for my church family bubbles over and spills onto this blog, you get a glimpse of our little Calvary Chapel. This morning, I'm bubbling.
There's no way I'll get it all in one post. This will have to be a three- or four-parter. Here's what you missed in week one:
The Lights of Christmas
We usually have a women's overnighter at The Lights of Christmas ... and we'll do it again next year for sure (that's for all you women who begged and whined :), but this year, we decided to make it a family event. A big pack of us met at the church office and caravanned first to Starbucks, and then out to Warm Beach. Since I know most of you have never been to The Lights, let me paint a picture: You head west toward the water, and just before you'd continue down that last block or two and hit Puget Sound, you take a right. A half mile or so later, you come to a densely treed area, and you begin to see the first of the lights. They're everywhere--wound around massive cedar tree stumps, hanging from branches, lining walkways, outlining buildings ... and those are the conservative displays. As you walk around, you see mountains made of sheets of lights hanging in the distance, waterfalls, a storm scene (complete with a lighthouse, flashing clouds, and crabs scampering about a shipwrecked boat), flowers, bees flying in and out of a hive, angels, and bunches more that I can't think of right now.
The lights are the big draw, but there's so much more. Frosty walks around greeting the kids. Bruce the Spruce, a talking fir tree, chats with a steady stream of visitors. Carolers sing. Bluegrass bands entertain. You can ride the train, or take a hay ride on a wagon attached to two Clydesdales (we did both). Scattered at thankfully close intervals are bonfires, where clusters of people linger to warm themselves.
There's food, of course. Cocoa and chili beckon. Hot donuts (6 for a dollar) send a come-and-get-me scent wafting out of one tent, while Ivar's clam chowder is dished up in another. (Taryn, pregnant with twins, got clam chowder AND a Philly steak sandwich, but to be fair, Mark helped her make it all disappear).
To top off your night, the tiny chapel perched on a hillside overlooking Puget Sound is decorated with subtle lights illuminating a nativity scene--the real reason for all this celebration. You can sit as long as you like, basking in that soft light and letting the music settle your soul. It's my favorite spot in the world. I once had a really amazing experience in that chapel. I'll have to write about that another time.
I absolutely loved the group who went with us this year. A few of us talked knitting as we walked around (I'd spent that very afternoon with Jennifer for lemon bars and a knitting lesson, so she was particularly chatty). A few of us sang silly songs from our childhood. Okay, that was me. The kids (and Cora ... and Fran) walked around with snowman glassses on. One of them let me take a peek, and I instantly coveted the glasses. Every light--seen through the lenses--looked like bright snowmen. We took a stroll through the petting zoo, and waited as one for the alpaca to spit on us. Though none of us own any alpaca knowledge, I heard several adament, authoritative murmurs on the subject. "Oh yes. Alpacas spit. They sure do." No spitting occurred.
I loved the oldies, and I loved the newcomers. Gina, Rick and Mia feel like they've always belonged to us. I can't imagine not fellowshipping with them. Carly, Dave, and their boys scooched right in and endeared themselves to us. In fact, one of my favorite memories of the night was when Carly's son, 5-year old Wade, stopped in his tracks when he spotted Frosty in the courtyard, threw his arms back, and proclaimed, "Frosty!!! It's me again!" And you know what? That costumed Frosty managed to convey a look back that said, "Yes, Wade! I remember you from last year!"
There's nothing like the body of Christ. Nothing at all.
More to come.