I'm not sure I (Peter) mentioned in any previous posts (check http://journey-east.blogspot.com/2010/03/getting-to-this-point-his-story-part-3.html to see if I did or not), but my first real experience of Orthodoxy was at Nativity. My roommate E. was baptized that Sunday morning, and then I spent the rest of the day with he and another recent convert talking about the Church and the feast and what not. The bishop was there that night, too. And we did the Liturgy of St. Basil. I stood for three hours in really uncomfortable shoes for 3 hours. I was so confused! So much happened that I had no idea about. I do remember, however, that I was caught up in the wonder and the beauty of it as I tried to listen to the words of the hymns and internalize what I was listening to.
This year we didn't make it to Christmas liturgy. We were up in New Hampshire with my family, celebrating to the best of our ability. It was really wonderful. We ate, sang songs, opened presents, prayed, laughed, gave lots of hugs and kisses--truly sacramental. I missed being there for the long night, the party afterwards, the big hymns full of deep theology. What I received in exchange, though, was something truly wonderful.
I have an incredible family. We may drive each other crazy, but they are loving, compassionate, giving, and unselfish to a fault. If I couldn't be at Liturgy, I'm glad I was home with people who love me and who also love Jesus.
As I look at the coming year I have a few goals I'd like to set for myself: keep reading spiritual books, meet once a month with Br. S, and work towards our Chrismation at Nativity next year--maybe. We are all about following God's plan for our lives. We don't know where our path will lead us this year, but I do know that I have never felt so sure of where I'm meant to be at any time before.
I have so much to write about: my uncle is dying of cancer, my little girl crosses herself and makes deep prostration, our infant is nearly rolling over, my wife and I are learning to pray together and work through our sins in a way that is forgiving and healing, and so much else. I don't know what comes next, but I do know that I'm in the right place. Christ is born! Glorify Him!