Fourth Sunday of Advent: Home and Family

First Sunday back home for Christmas break (finally).  Thus, today:

  • Church (I actually go to a different church than the rest of my family, but alas, things just work out better this way.)
  • Lunch with one of my friend’s family and some of their friends.  They have been like a family to me.  Especially last year, when I was struggling with a lot of personal issues, they supported me, perhaps unknowingly, simply by being present and living their love.  I owe them a lot.
  • Starting the process of transferring my grandfather’s recordings from analog cassette to digital.  Recordings of what, you ask?  The entire New Testament: twenty hours total.  Everything new I learn about this man amazes me more.  My mother also told me that he spent so much time praying that he developed callouses on his knees.  I wish I could have known him better.
  • Going through my former pastor’s library of books.  He passed away from an extended battle with Parkinson’s Disease last spring, and his family is trying to clear out stuff, so I had the wonderful opportunity to pick up free books.  I got a full Bible commentary, Mere Christianity in Chinese, a book by John Bunyan, The Communist Manifesto, an anthology including The Westminster Confession plus both catechisms and some other statements of faith, a biography of Condoleeza Rice, among other texts.  It was incredible to look through his library: to think, that is the room from which the sermons all blossomed; to think, that is the room from which so much of my philosophy and world view formed.  I realized even more how much those first years influenced who I am today: he had tomes by Lewis, Piper, Spurgeon, Augustine–the same theologians and thinkers I now admire.

For tomorrow and the day following:

  • Going to watch some of my friends from high school sing at the mall.  One of the things I miss is being with spontaneously musical people–people who can sing a full harmony with their friends when the teacher is late to class, or whistle the entirety of “Stars and Stripes Forever”, or just play piano for fun during breaks.
  • Possibly going caroling with my church.  Instead of a traditional Christmas Eve service, this church has Christmas Eve service–members of the congregation serving the community.  Some groups volunteer at homeless shelters, nursing homes, women’s shelters, food banks, etc., but spots for those organizations are limited, so a large portion of the congregation hops into trailer beds and goes caroling.
  • Christmas dinner with my godfamily.  They’re a little stressful sometimes, but we work things out. After all, that’s what separates friends from family.
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