A recent blessing was pulling clothes out of my closet, searching for just the right combination for a Christmas outfit. I was looking for exactly the right mix of clothes that would be a) warm enough, b) not too warm, c) festive, d) comfortable, and d) modest. I settled on a nearly floor length black skirt and a red jacket over a sleeveless black top. I'm going to wear a locket with enameled red and green designs that I remember my father-in-law giving to my mother-in-law the year our daughter was born - inside is a sweet picture of our one month old daughter dressed in her first red Christmas dress. Barbara gave the locket to me a few years ago, thinking I might enjoy it. When I told my coworker about my outfit to wear to the prison for our Christmas celebration next week, we both chuckled. Who would have thought I'd so carefully pick clothing to wear inside a prison!?!
But seriously - we're going to set aside our typical Bible Study, and celebrate Christmas with the guys. The volunteers are going to dress up - like we would for Christmas Eve services (no jeans and T-shirts on this night!) Paul's even searching for just the right Christmas necktie. We'll be celebrating Holy Commuion, served by our volunteer who was ordained as an Elder in the United Methodist Church this year, and is no longer restricted as to where she can serve Communion. She's bringing a service of lessons and carols, so we'll read the Christmas story from the Scriptures and sing Christmas carols. I have some mini candycanes to distribute along with a poem about the symbolism behind the colors and the stripes.
Our preparations for celebrating Christmas in the prison make me examine my preparations for celebrating the holy day in my own family. Will I make careful choices about what to wear, what to eat, what to do? Those choices determine the blessings I'll receive for Christmas this year.