Christmas was lovely. Our Christmas Eve services were full of prayer and song and joy. After the last candles were extinguished, Ben and I headed north on the 5 to my sister's house. Maddie and Gracie didn't know we were coming, so when Maddie saw Uncle Ben's shoes by the door on Christmas morning, she thought they were Santa's. I haven't woken up so early on Christmas morning in decades... I was impatiently awaiting the giggling wakeup call at 5am. We spent the next few days doing what we do best: playing, listening to music, eating, being together. We left last night after a yummy dinner, and it was a tearful goodbye. We realized that we have become total Californians when it comes to driving in weather; there was SNOW on the mountain pass. We learned to drive in snow and sleet and rain and slush, but our Ohio skills have withered from non-use. We arrived home around midnight, to a house that looked like a disaster. Gusty winds had knocked over our basketball hoop onto Ben's car as well as blown our garage door wide open. Plus, the call I made to halt the delivery of the LA Times was disregarded, so newspapers were strewn all over our driveway. (All over = three newspapers. I am my father's daughter. My native language is hyperbole.) The only thing missing was a sign forged of Christmas lights blinking the message: WE ARE OUT OF TOWN. PLEASE ROB US. I'm back at work now, bleary-eyed and not quite ready for the teenage Jesus who inhabits the lectionary text this week.