I just poured myself a warm cup of poor man’s mocha- organic fresh ground coffee with instant hot cocoa- and am now thawing out after a brief trek to the beach as Winter Storm Euclid pushes up from the south.  The east-northeast winds have the lake receding further out than I’ve ever witnessed exposing large outcrops of shale and boulders, clearly a threat to watercraft even at high tide.  I’m dealing with minor symptoms of a cold or flu following a couple of days of yuletide cheer with family and friends.  Amy invited me over to celebrate her birthday, but I am inclined to stay safe and warm holed up here in my humble abode for the evening.  A good night’s sleep is in tall order.

By all accounts Christmas 2012 will go down in the books as one fondly recalled.  Christmas Eve at my aunt and uncle’s was delightful and cheerful as always with nearly 50 people crammed into their cozy living room for traditional prayers and song.  A highlight for the evening was my sister approaching me to candidly inquire if I would be interested in being the Godfather for their adopted Colombian baby, and I of course graciously accepted the honor as a tear welled up in our eyes.  She alluded to my faith in God and her admiration for me as an older brother.  It was a special moment of connection between us and has made me a bit more excited in anticipation of his/her arrival at some as yet determined future date.

For the first time in many years I joined my folks for Christmas mass, and as it was standing room only attendance, I forfeited my seat for an elderly woman.  I picked her out amongst the litany of faces along the back of the church and she smiled when I approached with my offer.  The priest shared a poignant message of making Christmas more than just one day a year, challenging the congregation to adopt it as a way of being.  I chuckled as a woman standing beside me fussed with her phone, not in a judgmental way, more of an observation in reflection how boring I’ve found Catholic ceremony over the years.  So I consciously chose to be fully present and soaked in the experience to its fullest, shifting my body weight periodically to take the strain off my injured knee.  I held a smile on my face throughout the one hour service.

My mother put on an exquisite spread for Christmas dinner following the annual gift exchange among siblings.  We had the pleasure of meeting my brother’s new female friend, whom he’s been dating for the last several months.  I could tell Mom was pleased when she pitched in to help clean up after dinner.  Later in the evening we were joined by additional family members, including our newest addition Will, who arrived just a few weeks ago.  There was much for which to be thankful and that carried over into the wee hours as some of us migrated to my sister and brother-in-law’s continuing the festivities.  I couldn’t pull myself away from a table of gamblers throwing down cash money on a game of chance, Acey Deucey.  I joined in briefly and stepped away after donating $5 to the pot.   I’ve never been much of a gambling man.

In common wealth,