A Christmas Litany

A Christmas Litany
December 17th, 2017
By Erika Kobewka

Our Lord is born today. Our Messiah lies in straw, dust, and rags. 

How peculiar and how glorious. 

He comes in flesh, bone, and blood, and with the pure, earthy, and hungry cry of a new baby. 

How puzzling and how wondrous. 

Our Saviour comes to us, embracing our world and embracing our humanity. With the fragile neediness of an infant and within the immaculate vessel of a created body-skin, cells, and atoms. The One who made us has come to dwell among us. 

How peculiar and how glorious. 

We receive our infant Messiah. Jesus Christ, healer of our world.
We receive our Emmanuel. Our living Lord who is near. 
We receive our Almighty God. Creator and sustainer of all. 
We receive our Prince of Peace. Ruler and great king. 

Joy to the World, our Lord has come. 

How puzzling and how wondrous.


There are days when I hardly recognize this girl - when I carry her outside into the snow from our play-date, kicking and screaming, coatless and bootless, and in the spinning and delirious vortex of a melt-down.  And then on the exact same day, she zips up her jacket by herself, puts her dirty dishes in the sink after supper, reads quietly before bed, and turns her own light off.  She is in the crux of growth and blossoming before my eyes, even when all I feel are the growing pains.  I love you my sweet and perplexing girl.


I can hardly believe we are at the end of January.  This month, I have welcomed a new violin teaching rhythm, and one that has been a perfect fit for our family.  This shift with my students has meant that my days that include teaching are busier, but it also has meant lighter days for the remainder of the week.  The added time at home has been just the right thing - keeping up with Jude's mischief and watching Zoey grow into a dazzling little girl that I hardly recognize and yet she has the same gleaming eyes that I have seen every day of her 4 years.  The current of motherhood ebbs and flows - furiously on some days, and contentedly calm on others.  My kids are stunning and they are both turkeys - and so goes this great, great, great task that is before me.


Christmas came and went, and it was delightful and busy and so special.  In the mix of it all, it feels like our children grew 2 inches.  Zoey, forever the big sister, swoons and chases and knows just how to make her little brother laugh.  She whispers I-love-yous into his ear and most of the time, I can barely contain the contagious joy of it all.  Do not be fooled, they also know just how to bug each other: Jude generally pushes and pulls her hair, Zoey hollers and tattles and everything is just a smidgen overdone.  In the thick of it, they still continue to find one another, making the other light up over and over and over again.  Isn't that how it should be?  Their relationship is developing and changing and yet, it is the same as it always has been: pure love and friendship.


The winter winds have slowly been settling into these parts, and in the flurry and swirl of the most recent global events, I tend to step back from online spaces like this.  It's not like I haven't been thinking, heartbroken and confused - it's just hard, you know?  I am able to kiss my children goodnight and linger with them in my arms, while violence and fear and turmoil persist.  And words?  Sometimes it feels like they just add to the static, putting cracks in empathy and compassion.  I know that's not always the case, but a lot of online spaces after tragedy are sparse and empty even though they are packed with words.

And now, Advent and Christmas are upon us, and the longing and hope that accompanies this season saturates everything, in the very best way.  I have warm daily embraces from my husband and the eager smiles of my children, and we choose to step out our door into this world, again and again and again.


Our Autumn here in St. Albert has been stunning.  Some born-and-raised St. Albertans have claimed this has been the prettiest one yet.  We have been savouring these days outside as it feels like the nippy early bites of winter are on our heels.  I love the ease with which my kiddos engage with the outdoors, but I am already apprehensive when I think of the stir-crazy days ahead.  Note to self, don't let the weather get ya down, get outside.


The ebb and flow of childhood

Our girl turned 4 this past August and, like most birthdays of hers, I have been observing a shift to a new season of childhood and a newfound assurance in who she is. Do any other parents out there experience this? I hesitate to use the word confidence because it doesn't quite fit, but it is like with each new season comes a new development of self-confidence. Like in their little hearts and minds, something locks into place and they realize, "Oh, THIS is who I am."

I really do love this stage that we are in. The tantrums really peaked when she turned 3, but this year, we talk through conflict and stubbornness, sassy behaviour and bad attitudes. The tantrums are, for the most part, a distant memory and in its place is the day-to-day task of verbalizing and processing little-kid-feelings. Like, "What is the proper response to my baby brother who is all up in my grill when I am clearly constructing a cathedral that will rival the Sistine Chapel? What do I do when I am not included in the neighbourhood girl group? How do I make new friends at school? How do I behave in a group, when I just want to be alone?" This, my friends is the nitty gritty of what it means to parent a 4 year old. New challenges? Definitely. But I love the new maturity, independence, and creativity of this stage. We actually talk. There is far less of the monotonous repetition of toddlerhood and more conversation. What a delight it is to learn more about who my daughter really is - and how appropriate that her self-discovery often leads to a new self-discovery of my own.