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Saturday, December 24, 2005

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The weary world rejoices.

In many ways, this has been a year of letting go, sloughing off the "shoulds", the "oughts", the "can'ts". A year of asking ourselves, whose life are we living, anyhow? It hasn't been comfortable, shrugging off the illusions we thought kept us safe. But it feels real.

So it was perfectly appropriate that, instead of getting gussied up for the big traditional Christmas Eve service at the Cathedral (which I love) we pulled on our hoodies and sneakers and trudged down the street to the plain little chapel where I had recently volunteered to lead evening prayer service, & to which I had a key.

It's more like a cell-block than a chapel; painted concrete brick and a couple of incandescent floor lamps with no shades. Like what you'd imagine the CIA's secret prisons in Eastern Europe to look like. Except with those awful 1950s pretty-boy Jesus posters, you know, like he's a model for Breck. A far cry from the grandeur and goosebumps of the Cathedral, where it would be standing room only tonight.

For us, it was perfect. It was just the five of us, but we lit candles and sniffled and hacked and coughed our way through the whole service, and when it came time for the five-minute "period of silence" as proscribed, we huddled together around the baby--who by this time was nursing in my lap--and sang Silent Night.

Sleep in heavenly peace. Merry Christmas.

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