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“When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”- Matthew 2:4-6

My car is filled with remnants of last night's party. Plastic bags with leftover plastic cups and paper plates, rustle as I get in. Perching atop the mound of bags, is a left behind gold tinsel Christmas wreath , decorated with red poinsettias--and who knows what else lies below them? I only know that my car is full!

As I set out for my first destination of the day, the sun shines bright in a deep blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds. The storm of last night has left behind a fresh layer of snow upon which freezing rain has left a glistening icy crust. The fields shine in the morning sun. The flat expanse of the Holland Marsh is like a silver sea with houses and barns floating impossibly on its flat surface.

I reflect on the party I was at last night. I have no hangover and no regrets, which might be the result of a different kind of party. No I have only a warm glow and a heart full of memories that will compel me to do it all again next year.

Later I come home from work to prepare for another party of the season. Tonight is the 7th Christmas party of the Writers Nest, the writers group that I belong to. Our tradition is to all bring parts of the meal to share.

Twelve of us gather in a Bonnie's home, which is fragrant with roasting turkey as we come in from the dark.

We eat tender turkey and tasty dressing with fluffy mashed potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauche and gravy. All of this is followed by apple pie, lemon cake and gingerbread. It is a real Christmas feast.

After the meal we gather to read stories, written by us and by others. Carolyn tells a story that was birthing in her head on the way to the party and which has not yet been put down on paper. Her story-telling skills are amazing and I wish that I had that skill.

We miss those that couldn't make it this year. For some this Christmas will be remembered as a difficult one. One of our members, Debbie, is battling cancer. She is chronicling her journey on her own blog, http://www.thedanceoflife.blogspot.com/ . Claire's son has recently suffered an aneurism and she has shown us how to walk through suffering with faith and peace. Their names are on our lips often during the evening.

I wonder what God has in store for this band of writers in the year ahead. We are lovers of words, called to write. Our styles of writing are as diverse as we are and we encourage and support one another as friends and writers.

(I posted some photos of the writers of the Writers Nest, on www.ajournalinphotos.blogspot.com )

Tonight I can only thank God for his goodness through another day.
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