The Finns were sitting in the pews waiting for the Christmas Eve evening service to start when I noticed that the congregation kept requesting obscure pre-service hymns that were on pages that were prime numbers, “Page 41,” and “Page 67,” and 53, 43… It triggered my impish side.

I was wondering playful nitpickity things like, “Why fill a sanctuary with pagan Winter Solstice symbols like a decorated tree and garland,” and “Why do the offertory prayer after the offertory if you’re not going to switch up the language,” – thereby reminding worshippers to give after the baskets have been passed. A combination of cart-before-horse meets “Oh, I promise I’ll remember next time.” My sister was synthesizing cynicism when she was asking stiff like, “If God loves everyone, how can He play favorites?”

I was at the height of my mockery when I jested to my mother, “and a Lutheran Church using NRSV Bibles. It really takes the beauty out of the language. When Linus from ‘Charlie Brown Christmas,’ has a more beautiful-sounding message… I mean seriously, to rephrase such great verses as, ‘Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy.’ Who rewrites that???”

I believe oldold lady Finn was up above listening to me n sis because after our candles (with the new, cheaper paper guards) were lit, the lights were dimmed n O’ Holy Light begun, I sobered up my
mood.

I started my prayer as I always do – a blessing for an old friend – and I started to feel a burning passion for the evening. Then that burning passion focused into my hand – the hand holding the candle.

“Ouch! I hate these new, cheap guards,” I tried not to shout as my fingers were burned by the candlewax in record time. I looked up towards Him n oldold lady finn n oldold lady Bourne (who probably came up with the idea) and I realized I was taught a lesson in humility, again. I think it was the first time those two oldold ladies agreed on anything. The moment made me chuckle.

Don’t tell me that there isn’t a metaphysical something up there.

I would have taken pictures of the candlelight vigil so I could show y’all its majesty, but some things are best left to the moment.

“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” — Linus to Charlie Brow (A Charlie Brown Christmas, by Charles Schultz)…And, yes, these kinds of lessons run paramount in Book of Blues.

I hear cards a-shuffling. Pre Christmas-dinner Euchre games have started.

Happy holidays, all. Thank you for the gracious, turnkey year. Stay warm.

as he drove out of sight

“And to all, a good night,” (Clement Clarke Moore).

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