Saturday, December 19, 2009

'Twas The Weekend Before Christmas...

...and everything is surreal, like a storybook... 

my Saturday began with word that a large portion of the country to the west and south was bracing for a Noreaster - a winter storm guaranteed to deliver a "White Christmas" - and as the hours of the day unfurled there was that "something" in the air and in the way the sky looked that carried that gray promise of snow. Temperatures in the teens reminded us of the warm times hopefully ahead with family and friends. The feeling was there as we tarried to and fro doing some rounds of mailing, shopping and other activities.

The dark of winter descends early here in the Capital Region of New York State... headed home, making my last two stops, one at the cigar shop and the other at one of the local Asian Markets, I noticed it was 4:04PM as the twinkling streetlights and headlights gave me pause to appreciate this particular time of year.

Upon arriving home we prepared a special meal. It didn't really start out to be special. Things just "came together." One friend arrived with some wine. A family member with some fresh meat. Another with freshly-baked bread. A pie was already in the oven. We sat around, laughing and chatting, drinking wine.

We got on the topic of holidays and the holiday spirit, conversation initiated by an article in the Jewish World, which had arrived in the day's mail. It was a brief entitled "Celebrate the essence of Chanukah," written by Rabbi Moshe Mirsky from Schenectady.
"Life is a mystery..." - Madonna

Although his wife was barren and he was very old, God blesses Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth with John. John is known as "John the Baptist" in the Bible. Zacharias was skeptical after the angels announced John's birth. The response to his skepticism was "Doth God accomplish what He willeth" (Quran 3:40). John would become a noble and chaste Prophet as the angels had stated (Quran 3:39).

The Qur'an discusses Mary's miraculous conception as well. "Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects." (Qur'an 19:16-17). After seeing the angel, she said: "I seek refuge from thee to (God) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear God." (Qur'an 19:18). The angel Gabriel responded: "Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a pure son." (Qur'an 19:19). Her next response is expected. She asked: "How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?" (Qur'an 19:20). The Angel Gabriel said: "So (it will be): thy Lord saith, 'That is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us.' It is a matter (so) decreed." (Qur'an 19:21). Mary then becomes pregnant.
By the time we sat down to dinner, which had turned into a wonderful feast, we were yakking about cultures and traditions and legends and religions. The discussion continued through coffee & pie, and as we stumbled back into the living room. Someone put one of my favourite holiday CD's, Winter Song, on the stereo...

Just one of those crystalline moments in life, when things seem okay, even though you know anything is subject to change, and life can turn on a dime, and all those other expressions and sayings... For a minute, everything is fine, everyone well.

Hope you have a Good Night! And you guys out there in "snowland" be careful, but thankful and enjoy the white!
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