A 2012 Christmas Letter from Casa Ford Seymour Ford in Pawtucket’s Oak Hill Neighborhood


It was a blast. The family service at five pm at First Unitarian had over a hundred kids and some three hundred adults. The nine o’clock was filled with nearly three hundred fifty adults and a couple of kids. Thanks to all who made it such a splendid time, with authentic respect for the tradition and framed appropriately for us as religious liberals of many differing theologies gathered within the comprehension of a radical post reformation (largely post) Christian rationalist Protestant church.

We celebrated the preciousness of the individual, woven out of, and sustained within the mysterious web of reality through the biblical story of the birth of the baby Jesus.

Oh, that and with lots and lots of music. Children’s choir at the first service and the forty plus choir at the second, plus some hired guns for the occasion.

We also used the non-correct versions of the old hymns and carols. A small almost naughty pleasure in being fiercely feminist and using masculine by preference language, not to mention several loudly sung allusions to trinity…

We were asked to sing not to sign, and we did. Lustily…

All in service of something so painfully simple.

As Margaret Gooding sings into our hearts:

They told me that when Jesus was born a star appeared in the heavens above the place where the young child lay. When I was very young I had no trouble believing wondrous things; I believed in the star. It was a wonderful miracle, part of a long ago story, foretelling an uncommon life. They told me a super nova appeared int he heavens in its dying burst of fire. When I was older and believed in science and reason I believed the story of the star explained. But I found I was unwilling to give up the star, fitting symbol for the birth of one whose uncommon life has been long remembered. The star explained became the star understood, for Jesus, for Buddha, for Zarathustra. Why not a star? Some bright star shines somewhere in the heavens each time a child is born. Who knows what it may foretell? Who knows what uncommon life may yet again unfold, if we but give it a chance.

Probably the highlight for me was following the first service when I was shaking hands with people as they were leaving. A three year old came up to me and with as much dignity as she could muster looked me over, and with a fierce directness asked if I were Santa.

I had to demure, but fessed to being a helper…

(Between the services having been properly schooled by Jewish friends auntie, Jan & I ate at the Shanghai restaurant on Thayer street.)

This morning after coffee and a cheese & (left over from a soup) kielbasa frittata we opened our presents. We promised each other a modest Christmas and it was. Auntie got a new cane with dragons on it – her favorite motif. Me, I got a badly needed and long hinted for new bathrobe together with a couple of mystery novels all picked with my taste buds in mind. And given at a perfect moment, I’m finishing the last from my bedside pile.

Jan, a prodigious knitter, has long been fascinated with spinning, and when we’re in a yarn store always looks at the wheels. So, I did break the nothing very expensive rule, or at least stretched it a bit, and upon the advice of some who know what’s what in the area, got her a spinning wheel.

And now…

This is the first day in many, many with no outside obligations (so far). And I feel the rarity, and the pleasure of it…

We’ve started cooking for our feast for three.

Enjoying the hint of snow outside the windows. And the birds at the feeder. A cardinal and a junco made special guest appearances…

Enjoying each other.

Enjoying the passing beauty of it all…

And wishing everyone the pleasure and joy of the season…


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