Dear Laura – November 21, 2016

Dear Laura,

It’s 4:20 on Monday afternoon, and I’ve got a day’s worth of housework behind me. I’ve been looking at every task with new eyes: I didn’t just give the fridge its cursory weekly purge—I took everything out and wiped down the shelves. Then I cleaned out the pantry, and the freezers upstairs and down. I didn’t just tidy my bookshop: I filed every scrap of paper I didn’t want to see until after January 6, and I cleared my worktable for projects and present-wrapping. I didn’t just plan my meals for the week: I pulled my box of November Victoria magazines off the shelf and consulted my “Entertaining Journal” for menus of Thanksgivings past. (Within hours this morning, my Thursday guest list swelled from 3 to 21, and you know how that set my heart humming with joy!)

I wrapped up all my coursework last night, and thus another Michaelmas Term is officially in the bag. My Classical Dictionary is back on the shelf—the nymphs and goddesses, heroes and monsters laid to rest amid the shades of antiquity. With all due respect to Plato, even the glories of lost Atlantis cannot hold my attention this time of year.

And has it really come around again? It didn’t seem possible until I was preparing for our dinner party Saturday night and Philip came in the kitchen to find me blissfully ironing napkins and humming along to the Baltimore Consort (“Best Of”—it’s way too early for “Bright Day Star”).

“This is your kickoff for the Christmas season, isn’t it?” he said.

He knows me well.

And so do you, darling friend. You know me well enough to cheer me on when my heart’s in the right place, and to talk sense when I’m careening towards Crazytown. You know what the angle of December sunlight means to my soul, and you understand both my eagerness and my longing to stop time in these blessed pre-Advent days.

But it’s November sunlight filtering into my den this afternoon, glinting off the window where my Advent wreath will soon hang, and kindling what’s left of the leaves on the trees like little lamps of saffron and amber. I’ve got a merry open fire popping companionably in the stove, a stout pot of PG Tips, and a coffee table-full of cookbooks and recipes before me.

But I also have a prayer book, because, as always, amid the sweet madness, I want to anchor myself in what it all means.

I know you do, too. We’ve got a lot of shared Christmases under our belts, don’t we, Laura-est of Lauras? But there’s a theme running through them all: Let’s do this thing up as fine and beautifully and sacrificially as we know how, because He came. But let’s keep one another on the straight-and-narrow of the Good Stuff: real peace, genuine love, and incarnational joy.

Praying for you in these dear threshold days. Doesn’t it feel like Advent Eve?



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