Winter Solstice

Christmas time of year

How has it happened that it’s already two weeks before Christmas? Last I looked, it was still Thanksgiving!

Baking Christmas Goodies

Traditionally, my family avoids shopping on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) like the plague! So we gather together at one of our homes to bake goodies to share.

This year my daughter and oldest niece were able to join me and Mom at my place as we made our candy. We make:

  • Christmas-shaped sugar cookies frosted and dusted with sprinkles

  • Chocolate covered peanut butter balls

  • Toffee

  • Caramels

  • Chocolate Fudge (we used to make Mint Fudge too)

  • Christmas-shaped pretzels dipped in almond bark

Christmas tins and plain packages sitting on steps (I’ve not much countertop space).

Christmas tins and plain packages sitting on steps (I’ve not much countertop space).

My sister always makes the caramel and toffee as it involves a candy thermometer. This year her daughter and mine made it. They were yummy delicious.

What types of holiday goodies do you make?

Advent

Advent, as Christians call the four weeks before Christmas Eve, becomes filled with more church events. Clark-Grace United Church of Christ, where I serve as pastor, went to a semi-independent apartment facility for seniors on Saturday and we Christmas caroled in their chapel with gusto. The other pastor from our church and I took turns as pianists so our music director could direct the choir and the audience. I’m much better with hymn-type carols and he’s excellent with the contemporary and the spiritual tunes for Christmas.

This year, we’re trying our first Soup and Solstice the night before the longest night of the year (Winter Solstice is Friday, Dec 21). After the soup meal, the worship service will center on readings, singing of quieter songs and candlelight through the Advent wreath and the use of luminaries. The last song will be more rousing as we sing Canticle of the Turning, which uses the Traditional Irish Folk music, Star of the County Down.

There’ll be a more casual service on the last Sunday before Christmas Eve with children and youth participating and the singing of Christmas carols, and of course, there is the Christmas Eve candlelight service of Scriptures and Christmas hymns on December 24.

This year, on December 30, we’re joining with Community United Church of Christ who has just called their first African-American pastor and we will celebrate Kwanzaa through worship and a meal.

And that’s how we celebrate our holidays here at our home and in my church.

Happy Hanukkah to all our Jewish brothers and sisters who will be celebrating the last day of their holiday season.

chimney.jpg

And Merry Christmas to all the people who celebrate this season!