I had the luncheon with my Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) sisters marked on my calendar since November. Arline had invited those of us who had served on team with her back in August of 2010 to come over after Sunday Mass for a light lunch and an ornament exchange. I’d bought special clear glass ornaments, and I’d made a necklace, earrings, and a bracelet out of peach translucent beads and put them in the ornament. It looked pretty and the jewelry could be worn.
I was the first one to arrive at Arline’s house. Fortunately, I didn’t have any trouble finding it (which is significant for someone as directionally challenged as I can be). I sat in my car debating whether or not my melancholy mood would make it better for me to turn around and go home. When Arline pulled in the driveway and saw me sitting there, I knew I’d have to at least go in, deliver the peppermint mocha cookies Kevin had made for me to bring, and put the ornament I’d made under the tree.
I sat out there for a bit longer before deciding to stick around for the festivities. I’m so glad I did. Arline had decorated their house beautifully for the holidays, right down to the ceramic nativity set she made a while back in a class she took. The house was so warm and inviting. Christmas music was playing. I could smell the soup cooking in the kitchen. Each time the door opened, another one of our CRHP sisters entered and made her rounds to greet everyone with smiles and hugs.
We enjoyed a delicious meal of vegetable soup and salad while catching up with each other. It was so nice to have a home-cooked meal and be surrounded by loved ones who were genuinely glad to see us and hear how things have been going.
Arline shared some passages from a book she’s loved by Matthew Kelly called Rediscovering Advent. She gave each of us a handout with some of the quotes from the book and a few reflection questions included for each week of Advent. We discussed our experiences of Advent in year’s past, then we moved on to the ornament exchange. I received a beautiful one of the Blessed Virgin holding baby Jesus that was painted from the inside. I’m looking forward to putting it on the little tree our brother in Christ got us last year.
The love, hugs, warm hospitality, home-cooked meal, and time spent talking, sharing, and laughing with such wonderful women was food for my soul. Who helps feed you spiritually during the holidays? Why not invite them over for something hot to drink and a cookie or two?
Here's a link to a fun Advent tea party a cool Catholic blogger wife and mom Kate Wicker held this week.