I am currently in Breckenridge, Colorado, with Ned’s family for what will be my first white Christmas. Growing up in South Carolina, shorts at Christmas were more common than snow (though shorts weren’t exactly common — but they did happen, unlike the snow, which did not. ever.).

We took the bus-metro-bus to Dulles after work on Friday. The journey there was fine and the security lines the shortest I remember them being just before Christmas. But we still faced flight delays, slow luggage and a slow drive up the snowy mountain, which put us here at the house and finally snug in our beds at the delightful hour of 4am –which is nearly 6 am DC time.

I was exhausted, but it was hard to convince my body it was time to sleep. We woke up again at 9, still tired. Saturday was spent gasping for more oxygen, trying to fight off a killer high-altitude headache, being  shocked at just how cold 7 degrees plus some crazy mountain windchill feels, and buying a new hat. Preston skied in the afternoon, and I took a nap.

Today I feel much better. We went to bed last night at 9:30 pm (Colorado time) and awoke at 6:30 ish, with only a very mild headache. My lungs and brain are getting used to the thinner air.

Ned and I went to a fourth Sunday of Advent service this morning at the charming mountain church, St John the Baptist. We then ate a tasty doughnut at the famous Daylight Donuts in town and joined his family for a service at Breckenridge Christian Ministries.

The people, sermon, music and Christ-in-a-mountain-lodge feel at BCM were wonderful, enriching and I loved our time there. But during Advent, I long for the traditions of the church. So when they lit the pink candle on the Advent wreath for the fourth Sunday of Advent at BCM and talked about the “joy of Christmas,” I was glad we had double dipped at church this morning and already had a healthy dose of Anglicanism. (editor’s note: the pink candle is for week three, gaudete Sunday. And the wreath is for Advent, which is NOT pre-Christmas.)  When we entered St. Johns, I was SO HAPPY to find the Mary and Joseph figurines hanging out on a windowsill, journeying toward the animals set up in a creche in the front. Jesus was appropriately hiding somewhere — I hope in the sacristy.

It is funny how when you grow up in a church that is rich in symbolism, these things become really important.  Because they are not just empty symbols, but point to something beyond. Mary and Joseph are still on their journey and so are we, and I need to be looking at myself and asking if I am ready to celebrate the anniversary of God’s coming to the world as the incarnate God of love or His final coming as judge. Instead I am thinking about wrapping Christmas presents — sigh. Lord, have mercy.

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