Between Visits

Well, the shepherds have left and the Magi haven't arrived yet.  So it's just Mary, baby, cows and other assorted animals.  I hope someone brought a casserole during this in-between time, the twelve days of Christmas, and maybe stayed for a nice visit.  Helped rearrange the hay or wash diapers.  

In the church calendar, we fill these nearly two weeks with various saints' days - St Stephen, St John, the Holy Innocents, Thomas a Becket, Anna the Prophet.  And we fill our days at home either milling around, trying to figure out where to put the new Christmas things or maybe dipping into that new gift book, or exchanging things that didn't fit, or getting back to work, or, in my case, cleaning out closets and drawers and medicine cabinets and the like.  What we don't do is a round of parties to celebrate Christmas - we did that before Christmas or maybe during the first couple of days, which is too bad, really.  The world doesn't operate on liturgical time, and so few workplaces are closed, except for the small businesses that take the opportunity to close between Christmas and New Years'.

I like this in-between time.  Except for the almost constant home improvement projects that are happening next door, things seem fairly quiet.  The kids are out of school (which will make their return to school all the more joyful, at least for the parents) and the usual extra-curricular activities (especially basketball practice) are suspended for now. There's time to talk on the phone and play with my new iPad.  I am not feeling the pressure to be here and there and everywhere all at the same time, although that will happen soon enough.  I actually have some work-work (in addition to the ever present house and yard work) I need to do, but I am not feeling anxious about it yet.  That will come tomorrow or the next day, or by next week for sure.  

Thoughts of the future flit in and out of my consciousness.  As it must have done for Mary.  What does the future hold?  What should I be doing next?  What needs doing now to prepare for that?  Who will help me?  How will I care for this baby, this new thing that has come into my life, this responsibility, this object of devotion?  Where will God lead me next?