Six on the Sixth

1. Back before Christmas, which feels like months ago already, I kept a little piece of notepaper on my desk titled, “January Projects.” Throughout December, whenever I came across something I knew I wouldn’t get done before Christmas or didn’t have the time to think about, I wrote it down there. Pretty soon, that little piece of notepaper was all filled up with little projects, big and small, like “return books” and “start visioning process.” Well, guess what? It’s January, and I’m about to drown in that little list. Maybe it’s time to start a February page?

2. Happy Epiphany! I really like this little-noticed holiday, and I wish we paid more attention to it. As part of my sermon prep last week, I did some reading on Epiphany traditions in other cultures, and some of them were lovely: kids who leave boxes of grass under the beds for the kings to feed to their horses, trios of carolers who represent the magi and sing to their neighbors, miniature kings baked into cakes… Why don’t we do any of that? Are we just too worn out from Christmas and New Year’s to muster up the energy for another holiday so soon? Maybe next year.

3. Rob had an early conference call this morning, so I took Harper to school. It’s a good thing I did, too, because on the way out, I overheard another parent telling someone about swim lessons, and I suddenly remembered that Harper’s new session of lessons begins tonight! I’d forgotten all about it; I had signed her up back at the beginning of December, and they were scheduled for that magical far-away time called “After Christmas.” So I’ll dash home this afternoon to get her swimsuit before I pick her up. I wonder if she’ll get in the water this time, or if I’ll be buying burritos for dinner.

4. I’m in the middle of reading Kathryn Stockton’s novel The Help. I’m enjoying it, but this review over at Fidelia’s Sisters has given me a lot to think about while I read.

5. Did you know they make heated mattress pads? I didn’t either, but they do, and oh, my goodness. Ours arrived amidst the Christmas gifts from Rob’s parents. The package promoted it as a therapeutic heating pad for achy muscles, but really it’s just a bed warmer. We turn it on while getting ready for bed, and then climb under the covers into this warm little cave. It’s as unnecessarily luxurious and as decadent as hot fudge on ice cream. My in-laws are wonderful at giving me things I didn’t know I wanted, but which become the Best Thing Ever. (Thanks, B and K.)

6. I’m preaching this week on the baptism of Jesus, after having just left him in Bethlehem a few days ago. Last Sunday, we were following the star and kneeling down with the magi at the bedside of a newborn baby, and now, here he is, looking very grown up as he stands with John in the waters of the river Jordon. The years just pass so quickly, don’t they?



  • Happy Epiphany to you! We did not have our traditional star-shaped baked goods, but will probably get the tree down before we go to bed. (And lest you worry, I did make brownies, they just lack the structural integrity to have the planned cookie-cutter stars made out of them.) I am often struck, and especially this Christmas for some reason, by how out of sync the church calendar is with the broader (more powerful?) cultural rhythms of Christmas. Advent asks us to wait and prepare in a way that is much different than buying and wrapping presents… and then we’re “supposed to” celebrate Christmas for 12 whole days, ending with the grand feast of Epiphany today… but for most people Christmas is long over by the time the New Year starts.

    I am not sure whether this is the church being prophetic or out of touch… a little of both, maybe?


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