Sunday, December 20, 2009

Best Christmas Sunday Ever

Christmas Break Day 2...The Best! For a novice teacher, Sundays are typically a day of beating the clock; attempting to relax a bit, but stacked to the brim with lesson planning, papers to grade, and groceries to get for the week. Today, however, was a welcomed change. School ended Friday; therefore, I am going to enjoy slow time for the next two weeks. If every day is like this one, Christmas Break is going to be exactly what I'm hoping for...

8:30 AM: Church. Church in a perfect little snowstorm. Just warm enough to want to play, just pretty enough to capture. The snowflakes were big, the crowd at church was big, and the message was even bigger. It was the story of Jesus going to a dinner banquet at the house of a prominent Pharisee (Luke 14). He told the parable of a "certain man" who prepared a "great banquet and invited many guests" (Luke 14: 16-24). Although this invitation was extended to all, people made excuses as to why they couldn't attend. One man had just gotten married and wanted to be with his wife, one man had just purchased new property, and another, five oxen. These men were too busy with their own lives, too busy with their own personal wealth to care or even notice the importance of this "great feast."

This "feast" is Christmas. God's extended invitation to all of us to accept his Son that night, in that lowly manger, as our Savior. It's crazy to me how this time of year always plays the same tune. It's the time of year when the message is the strongest, but the distractions are too. It's so easy to get mixed up in the excuses: presents to buy, parties to attend, mornings to sleep in... when all we need to do is remember the ultimate gift, the ultimate "feast" waiting for us.

10:00 AM: When we left church, it was still snowing. It was beautiful. Beau and I went to Hy-Vee and got some firewood; however, we had to go back to Hy-Vee to pay for it because neither one of us brought our wallets to church! I was okay with this, as it gave me a little more time to "play."

11:00 AM: I must admit, I planned a little ahead for today. I prepared breakfast. Homemade cinnamon rolls, a sausage and egg strata, and hot apple cider to sip on.

It was delicious!

Recipe for Easy Sausage Strata

-1 lb. Italian Sausage
-6 cups of bread crumbs
-2 cups grated Cheddar
-6 eggs
-2 cups milk
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. dry mustard

Brown sausage in a pan with a little olive oil on medium heat. After browned and drained, mix with bread crumbs and cheddar. Layer in a lightly greased 9x13 inch pan. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with milk and mix in spice. Pour over sausage and bread mixture. Cover and chill overnight. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. Serve warm.

11:30 AM: Tormented Jade. She, too, loves days like this. She plays when we play, eats when we eat, and cuddles when we cuddle.

12:00 PM: Finished wrapping! My tree is officially stuffed with beautiful gifts for beautiful family!

3:00 PM: Put the mukluks on. Snuggled under a comforter to watch a Lifetime Christmas movie, but fell asleep instead. I can't say I was too upset by this!

4:15 PM: Poured another glass of cider.

5:30 PM: Started a fire. Started a pot of cheese dip. Started 'The Family Stone.'

8:00 PM: Popped popcorn. Added marshmallows. Made a 'pile' of blankets and rekindled my love affair with Jimmy Stewart. 'It's a Wonderful Life' is not only my favorite Christmas movie, but one of my all-time favorites. The message rings loud and clear, much like the bell at the end of the film. I cry every time I watch it. It's the best.

11:00 PM: Snuggled in for a 'long winter's nap.'

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