Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Storey: Shannon's Christmas Address

Christmas Storey: Shannon's Christmas Address

“And so this is Christmas and what have we done, another year over and a new one just begun.”


I figure if the queen makes a Christmas address why shouldn't I, the peasant. My Christmas address is much the same as my current address...my parents house. I digress. One year ago I found myself in shorts in sunny South Africa for a little Christmas hiatus from the rigmarole of life in Zambia. I was 10 months into a fairly challenging year on the mission field in Lusaka, Zambia. Two months later I returned home where my senses were bombarded with the comforts of home...family, friends, and food! A week after I set foot in Canada the youth pastor at Bakerview resigned. Two weeks after that I was sitting bewildered at my new desk as the “Interim Youth Director” now in charge of running two weekly youth programs. With head still spinning from what the last year had brought this new endeavor was a frightening challenge before me to say the least. But by the grace of God I've somehow made it to today. I sure do love the students I work with a whole lot. If it weren't for them I don't know why anyone in their right mind would do this job!! The future is uncharted. The timeline of this job is still as ambiguous as it's ever been. And as for what comes next it is about as certain as the weather forecast. Boy, these update letters were sure easier to do when I did one every week.

As for Christmas I suppose I will address it. After all this is a “Christmas Address.” I'm not a huge fan of the holidays. I love Jesus and the whole revelation of Emmanuel- God with us...but all the hoopla of the holiday season seem to make a lot of people stressed, weary, and sad. But my favourite part of the whole shebang is going to church on Christmas eve. I remember as a kid the anticipation of knowing what the next day would bring, sitting in a candle lit service in a taffeta dress and tights that I probably begrudgingly let my mom dress me in, singing Christmas songs, staring at the trees, and then getting a goody bag when it was all said and done. This year I, along with my good friends Chrissy and Margie, had spent the last five months planning and preparing for our Christmas eve service. Now that I work at a church I have to admit I'm not all that thrilled about church services anymore because it is usually correlated with work and stress, but this one was different. We had this whole service entitled “Awakening to Emmanuel.” Like I alluded to before, the idea of Emmanuel captivates me. We had this whole story of a woman's spirit awakening to the presence of Christ over a series of events interspersed with songs sung by the three of us and a youth choir with kazoos and festive sweaters. So Christmas eve finally arrived. And so did about a foot of snow. And just like that it was all cancelled. I guess for some reason this was all in God's plan. That's what I cling to anyway. That He knows what's going on and it's all under control. Heart broken I set my aggression to the snow shovel shovelling the street for about three hours.

When we were little mom used to take us skating and swimming on Christmas eve to try and tucker us out so that we would fall asleep that night. But always skating THEN swimming. Never the other way around. That's an ear infection waiting to happen. But now that we are older I shovel for hours and the Storey ladies three trudge through the snow by foot to the nearest Starbucks, where I forgot to get a decaf which then pretty much nullified all the activity of the day.

When people ask what Christmas is like in our family I often respond, “Well, it's just the four of us so it's pretty much like every other day of the year except we have better food and not as much is on TV.” And there you have it.
Here are some Storey Christmas Traditions:
- a shrimp ring on Christmas eve!
- the TV yule long
- presents on Christmas morning
- reminding my Dad of the Christmas he broke my new awesome Playdough press where you could squeeze out playdough into really cool shapes. I've never that one go.
- taking Christmas sweater pictures with Dana
- eating turkey dinner...followed by “well, if that's Christmas dinner I guess we've had it!”
- watching the Barenaked Ladies Christmas special on TV: “Barenaked for the Holidays”...the best!
- we don't light advent candles at the dinner table anymore because I play with them and mom gets mad...we haven't had any for many years.
- every year after the CBC news they list at a rapid rate everyone involved in the production of the news and every year Dana and I try and read all the names aloud as they torpedo by.

I hope your Christmas is filled with good times and all the things that it's meant to be about. May you know that God is with us this Christmas and in the year to come. And I'm not just saying that cause I'm a “pastor”! I mean that in a most sincere and un-cliche way.

Peace,
shannon

ps. if you have any thoughts on what I should be doing in a couple months when my time is up at Bakerview please tell me!!!

3 comments:

MOBACH'S said...

you should move to Yellowknife and be my live in Nanny!

Katie said...

Shannon, thank you for this amazing "address." You are so incredibly articulate, funny, insightful, inspiring, and many more things; I really could go on and on. I loved hearing about your family traditions; it really is the little things like that that give life meaning. I'm sorry to hear that all your hard work for the Christmas Eve service was kind of a waste; I think that sometimes lame things happen and that's just part of being human, but that Jesus is sad and frustrated with you. Thank-you for reminding us that God is with us.

p.s. I will get back to you on some ideas for the New Year.....perhaps you should just get knocked up, lol!

Patti said...

I see I have some Nanny competition. : ) You are supposed to be moving to Connecticut to be MY Nanny, remember??