Thanksgiving Notes

Our holiday weekend was superb. We enjoyed the semi-traditional Thanksgiving shuffle on Thursday, dropping by two celebrations, one for each side of the family. Great food and wonderful people (some of whom we don’t get to see very often) combined for a thoroughly enjoyable holiday. ([Becky->]’s brother Bill, with whom we’d spent some time running around London in the summer, was in Texas for a visit. We enjoyed catching up with him again a great deal.)

After the Black Friday Lazer Curry Shoot-Out, [Emily->] stayed over with Ken & Tanya in San Antonio, who had graciously offered to let her hang out with them for the evening and much of the next day. I hauled the other kids up to Austin Saturday morning for a free showing of The Strongest Man in the World at the Alamo Drafthouse — part of their Saturday Morning Kids Club series. It’s always fun to watch some silly old Disney movie while sucking on root beers and enjoying the unique atmosphere of the Drafthouse. On the way back from Austin, we stopped at the recently opened Cabela’s in Buda and ogled stuffed animals, fish, and kayaks. The place feels like Wal-Mart for the outdoor set, but with even more guns. It is nonetheless entertaining to stroll around for a while. Ken & Tanya brought Emily back around dinner time, and we all enjoyed Kathy’s marvelous Chicken Tortilla Soup and then hung around and visited for several more hours. Since family gatherings are usually pretty hectic, crowded affairs, it was nice to have the opportunity to sit and talk with them at more length and with fewer interruptions than we usually can.

On Sunday, since the University where our church usually meets was closed for the holiday, we split up and met at several different homes around town. At our meeting, we had a substantial brunch, sang a few songs, visited a lot, and took communion. While lighter on teaching than Sunday mornings usually are, everybody seemed to really enjoy the format. Later that afternoon, [Liam->] and I slipped off for a couple hours to help with some of the Sights and Sounds of Christmas setup, which mostly consisted of lugging heavy plywood walls from a trailer to where they’d be set up. Liam also acted as our Ambassador to Dogs.

We wrapped up a long and full weekend with a small family observance of the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Christian year. Though our church doesn’t currently pay much attention to such things, I’ve found their observance very meaningful and try to keep them in mind around the house. We discussed the meaning of Advent (always an interesting exercise with five and six year olds involved), sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, and lit the first candle on the advent wreath (also an interesting, and potentially hazardous, exercise). It’s exciting to see how people — kids especially — will respond vitally to symbols, sinking further in than yet another repetition of doctrine would. Our practice of faith is richer and deeper when we not only involve the mind, but also the heart.