One by one they came, into the house fragrant with the scent of baking ham. Some were greeted with the delighted squeals of two little girls--those greetings for the big friends who hadn't been on Tuesday nights for weeks due to college or work. Sam, Lesley-Ann, Susan, Jorie, Ron, Andrew, Ann, Susan P. David, Lori-Lei, Lance and little Ava, joining Paul and me, Brenda and Jay and Tiffany-Amber and Victoria.
They came bearing gifts for the food bank, which were stored under the tree so as not to clutter the kitchen. Tiffany-Amber and Victoria decided to make a sign so that guests would know where to put their contributions.I thought that it was the best decorated Christmas tree I have seen--and I think we just started a new tradition.
We put food out on the table buffet style, and in the candle lit house, people found places to sit and talk and laugh while they ate.
After dessert Susan played part of a CD she had brought, with the writer Walter Wangerin, reading his own imaginative version of the birth of Christ; describing the drama; the urgency to find a place to birth the baby, from the point of view of Mary, who was in hard labour. Her youth and tenderness, the immodesty of the actual birth in which Joseph would have had to assist, the birth process graphically described--it gave us a fresh and more earthy picture to counter the more usual placid manger scenes.
Susan's husband Ron arrived part way through, with David their son, fresh from Queen's University in Kingston where David is a second year engineering student. He has Aspergers syndrome and a unique and hilarious way of looking at the world. From his arrival the party rocked with laughter at his zany humour and that of his sister Jorie and brother Andrew.
So this was our evening--the blessing of sharing, of friends, of laughter and of remembering the birth of Christ in a wonderfully fresh way. I thank God for this wonderful day.