Christmas these days seems to begin around Halloween when Christmas themed merchandise appears in the stores, although for some retailers it’s even earlier and you see craft and decorating items stocked in strategic places. This year Thanksgiving was the latest it could be and so the festivities and shopping had one less week. Our holiday season was saddened by the death of brother in law John Sterling, whom we had visited in October in California. He died the Sunday before Thanksgiving. For us, Christmas more or less began at Thanksgiving when we began to discuss how we would do the holidays. Usually our daughter has Thanksgiving dinner, but her father-in-law who lives in Cleveland and who has been ill, was unable to travel, so they needed to be free “just in case,” so we had dinner here, and decided that I would host the family on Christmas Eve, and then we’d all go to our daughter’s for Christmas Day. I fixed a huge turkey, and we’ve had leftovers off and on since. So beginning with Thanksgiving, we all went to church together at the Lytham Road campus of Upper Arlington Lutheran Church at 10 a.m. where we had worshipped when the children were growing up (began attending in 1974 and joined on Palm Sunday 1976). Pastor TJ Anderson, our new senior pastor, gave the sermon. At this service we bring sacks of groceries to be distributed by the Lutheran Food Pantry. Our location of UALC has a traditional style worship with hymns and organ; Mill Run has contemporary style worship with praise songs and communion.
1. On Wednesday, December 4, we attended with our neighbors Tom and Joyce the annual Conestoga (friends of the Ohio Historical Society) Holiday Party at The Boat House at Confluence Park. It was a lovely venue with views of the river and the downtown skyline lit up for Christmas. Conestoga has 203 individual members and we learn about Ohio history, travel around the state together visiting historical places, and have fund raisers. All the money supports the Ohio Historical Society. Our current endowment is about $66,000.
2. Mid-week day time Advent services are held on Thursday at the Lytham Rd. location, and we served communion on December 5. Wednesday evening services are held at our Mill Run Campus. Usually serve at all these Thursday services, but this year we had conflicts on the other two dates. These services are followed by lunch in the fellowship hall. Generally, it’s an older crowd, and follows the Thursday morning Bible study.
3. On December 7, the combined choirs of Lytham and Mill Run presented a wonderful Christmas Concert on Saturday evening, “Glory, Peace, Joy” with conductors Brian Carlton and Michael Martin, with an orchestra. Members of our pastoral staff gave the readings from Isaiah, Colossians, Luke, and Matthew. I sat with the other women of our SALT group—our husbands were at home watching the OSU-Michigan football game, and they missed a beautiful concert.
4. On Sunday December 8, we attended our own service (8:15) and the 9:30 Celebration Service at Lytham, so we could participate in the installation of Pastor Thomas J. Anderson. Pastor David Wendel, assistant to the NALC Bishop performed the installation, with Pastors Brodie Taphorn and Buff Delcamp participating. Pastor TJ follows Pastor Paul Ulring who ended his service with the church in September. Pastor TJ said, “My primary mission is to kick you out of the nest.”
5. We were thrilled to have our friends Martti and Riitta Tulamo of Helsinki, Finland with us December 11-13. We did some touring of the OSU campus where Riitta was a student at the veterinary college in 1978-80. We spent a lot of time together in those days, so our children remember them well, and we had a dinner here on Friday night before taking them to the Brens where they would enjoy a few days, then going to the Rigolli home in Worthington before returning to Finland. We attended Advent services on Thursday and then stayed for a very nice lunch of lasagna and salad.
6. On Saturday December 14 our church’s Mission ministry had a pot luck at the home of the Camerons to meet with our missionaries Dave and Pam Mann who teach in Haiti and are home during the month of December. It was so good to see them, and hear about what is happening at the school and clinic.
7. On Sunday December 15 members of Conestoga were invited to a buffet and program at the Ohio Historical Society. We went with our neighbors the Rieslings. The theme for this fall/winter has been the 50s—and there is a Lustron on display, so it was decorated with the much more simple décor of the 1950, including an aluminum tree and plastic poinsettias.
8.. Party with Faith of our Fathers study group Monday Dec. 16 and my first training session with the Pregnancy Decision Health Center on Wednesday Dec. 18 where I hope to continue volunteering. This is a Christian ministry that saves lives—of babies, but also mothers who may be in great distress with a pregnancy
9. Party for condo association hosted by the Thompson and Rieslings on Sunday Dec. 22. The Thompsons had their twin 18 month old granddaughters with them, which really enhanced the environment. Joan and Joyce put out a beautiful spread of of wonderful food, and I think I gained back all the weight (6 lbs) I’ve struggled to lose during the fall.
10. We had a get together after exercise class at instructor Christine’s home on Monday December 23, and will have a 2 week hiatus.
11. We hosted our family for Christmas Eve for dinner—ham, roasted squash, potato salad, mixed fruit, cookies. Then together we attended the UALC 9 p.m. service. On Christmas Day, we opened gifts at home after a leisurely morning, then attended church at 10 a.m. where we served Communion, and then went to our daughter and son-in-law’s for a lovely Christmas dinner and more gifts. Such lovely thoughtful gifts, and my daughter spiffed up my wardrobe, something I always look forward to.
12. Friends of ours are hosting events in their homes in the next week, on Saturday December 28 the Sloughs, and on Monday evening December 30, the Zimmers.
13. We will attend the New Year’s Eve Jazz Concert and Worship with Communion at our Mill Run church on Tuesday December 31 beginning at 5:30 for music and 6:00 for worship.