Brenda Wallace
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December 27, 2020

Here we sit, with the tree alight,  copious amounts of goodies at our finger tips and the promise of a quiet afternoon and evening ahead of us. Thursday and Friday, Christmas Eve Day  and Eve and, of course, Christmas Day were prime ZOOM days. On Christmas Eve Day 10 a.m. we hosted a "Breakfast in Bethlehem" Fun activity gathering complete with story, song and good things to eat for families at St. David's. We had some 20 computers on line with us and even Hugo and Iris were able to join with us from their grandpa's place on the coast. They read their stories to the group and joined in the singing. Ian, in Grade seven now, read us the story of the wombat at Christmas and our Rev. Debby read the Christmas story from the perspective of the inn keeper. We heard about how Christmas was celebrated in our many homes. 

Christmas Eve we had a record number of computers on ZOOM with us - 100, to be exact. Rev. Peggy along with members of the worship ministry committee, the Music Ministry team and PSALT (techies are us) presented a finale to the series that Rev. Peggy followed during ADVENT. We have been challenged to examine those things in our lives that cause us to question our beliefs. On Dec. 20th, we looked at the illumination of Peace and how it is achieved in our lives. On the 24th, children and adults shared their experiences in story form -- helpingto flesh out the advent of hope, love, joy and peace in our lives. Thank you to all the participants.

Over the years, I have written up our annual Christmas story and, this year, on Christmas Day, in front of the fireplace, we took turns reading about Christmases past. It is quite amazing how we forget some quite incredible moments in time. Usually I write as we are on our trip to points south at this time of the year. Our yearly voyage really started many years ago when Dave gave me a piece of turf for Christmas with the promise of a trip to Lincoln City, Oregon. We've been back every year since then and have enjoyed our stays in Vegas, Phoenix, Bakersfield, San Francisco, Monterey, Portland, Spokane and arriving back home just in time to pack away our Christmas ornaments and begin plans for spring time. Alas, "the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglay," right?? "Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!"

December 19, 2020:

The past week has truly zipped (or shall I say, Zoomed) by for us as preparation for Christmas continued all the while with a fairly major renovation on the home front. Shopping for supplies involved wearing our masks and applying copious amounts of hand sanitizer. 

Christmas always begins seriously for us as we mark Santa Lucia day on December 13. Last Sunday, I was involved in four zoom celebrations as we brought family and friends together, firstly at St. David's for our third Sunday of Advent service, secondly,with DKG, (Women Educators) Christmas gathering, thirdly, Family dinner and, lastly, friends to draw closure to a long but wonderful day. The last three zoom sessions, the major joy for me was accompanying singers in their own homes from our home and from my piano. 

It is hard to believe that prior to March 15, I had never experienced or even heard the word ZOOM, except when it meant to go fast, and now it is such a major part of our lives. It has definitely been a growing edge for both David and I and, I know, that for many of the people with whom we have 'zoomed', they share the new awareness of how to create and enjoy community while social distancing. On zoom, there are no masks and you can really tell if people are having fun!!

With the building done, the sorting almost finished, the baking done and distributed, it is time to settle down to enjoy the warmth of home and hearth. Time to light the fireplace, enjoy some warm Crimson Apple beverage (a St. Lucia favourite) with hardbread and cheese and think about how very blessed we are to have our home, family, friends and all those others who support us during this time of COVID-19. 

December 12, 2020:

It truly feels a little more like Christmas is around the corner. There is a skiff of snow on the ground and those of us who brave the outdoors, cheeks are red and we are quite happy to wear our masks -- it is warmer!!

We are about to move into a month of fairly harsh restrictions as we continue to try to bend the curve of  COVID-19. As Christmas approaches, my heart aches to spend time with my grandchildren (and children, too). My kitchen is filled with yummy aromas as the fourth batch of hardbread is on the drying rack, pork pancakes drenched in golden syrup are in large casseroles awaiting distribution, Swedish Heirloom cookies and Nanny's Shortbread are packed away. There will be just Dave and I here to eat our share of the seasonal fair. 

This is a major change for us. Tomorrow, December 13 has become a family celebration for us over the past 35 years. We have fed dinner to as many as 85 people in our home (last year about 80 but over two days) but... this year, we will be gathering on ZOOM! We will sing, light advent candles but, mostly, visit. Family gathers at 5 and Friends at 8. We miss our physical meetings but, I guess, this is the next best thing.

Have a great week! Enjoy those walks outdoors and celebrate your relationships as safely as you can at this time. Things are very quiet at church -- the tech team of Deb, Tapas, Dave and I will be there and at task tomorrow. Check your email for your invitation to worship -- Advent Three -- Ode to Joy!

December 4, 2020:

The weekend before us is a warm, balmy one but also promises to be a rather solo venture, what with COVID-19 restrictions in place and the curve skyrocketing. All over the world the virus continues to spread with our own province gaining a degree of notoriety for its high numbers of positive cases. 

On CBC this morning, the Food Bank Fundraiser began with 1000 packages of Gray Knight Coffee and red Christmas mug selling out in record time. That meant that many Calgarians were awake and ready to buy at 6:00 a.m. The needs of Calgarians right now are dramatic. At St. David's, this year, we are featuring two agencies to which we can direct our donations: MADE BY MOMMA and MORLEY ANNUAL CHRISTMAS FEAST. See the December newsletter which is attached as a file below. Chantal has done a beautiful job designing and publishing the Advent Newletter. ZOOM invitations are included for Blue Christmas, Christmas Eve Service as well as the url for Brent's youtube featuring organ music (upcoming). 

Rev. Peggy's Advent series began last Sunday. The sanctuary was decked out in candle light and Christmas trees lined the chancel under the cross. Darlene's team did an outstanding job decorating and Peter is busy designing lights to adorn the street sanctuary windows as we speak. You are invited to visit the sanctuary during the week and/or the 'prayer' tree out front for some meditative time. (and maybe drop off a donation for our Christmas outreach. 

Monday night, this past week, was different for me (and for the other St. Davidians) with our Monday Night Book Study finished for 2020. The community that gathered over the 11 weeks of our study will be missed, for sure!

Enjoy the weather this weekend and we will see you on Sunday morning (that is, if you turn on your video!!)

P.S. Thanks to Dr. Marcia McPhee for the image for December. "Joy to the World"