Today at church we had our Christmas service, what a great time too! Today's the 20th, so I guess it's Christmas minus five. We came into the building, we sung lots of Christmas hymns, the pastor came up and reminded us of the greatest gift, we talked a long time, my coffee went cold, now people here and there are praying for each other, the service is long over but it still seems we haven't seen everyone, there is a kind of family warmth about the place - yep it's Sunday. Sometimes it feels too soon that we all go home. And outside, as Mary and I drive away, there's the little scene of the nativity that reminds me of trying to buy frankincense and myrrh, and also lawn clippings, and then I stare at the middle of the little scene and see the little baby Jesus. And I think, if just for a while, about my Dad playing Joseph, and I can see in my mind's eye (yes my brain has an eye I'm a mutant) about how much Joseph must have loved Mary, remembering how much my parents did and still love each other, and then I look back to the little Jesus in the crib and think to myself, well and here's now God, who gave them that love in the first place.

Outside, the snow is falling. Actually, there's no snow in Sparrow Falls, so I look up to see what it is. It melts. It's snow. I open my window and hear the hum of a loud engine, it's a snow-making machine. Mary and I stop and pull over by this little park where an old guy is making it snow. I ask him what the snow's about, and he says that he misses the snow from where he comes from. I forget that of course he must be Russian, so I apologize for asking the question. Mary seems intrigued by it all, and her windscreen wipers are going bonkers. The man now catches a handful of the snow in a bucket type thing, drizzles it with syrup, and gives it to me in a cup. I say thanks, and wish him a Mary Christmas. I mean merry Christmas. Just as I say that, the horns go off, and I get back in the seat and drive off.

Back at home, it all seems really quiet. For all the excitement, I suddenly start to feel a bit sad. Everything here's dull and still and silent. There's no family here to celebrate with for the first time. I say to myself, well now turn on the radio for some background music Livi, and so I do for a bit, but it's all stupid ads, so I turn it back off. I wander over to the Leaning Tower of Microwave, and sit down next to my desk. I say to myself, well now this is quiet. Too quiet. Then I whack my elbow, and it makes a loud sound. C sharp, to be precise. So I look up, and lo and behold my marimba. So I go over to it, and start playing.

Silent night, holy night! all is calm, all is bright
round yon virgin mother and child
holy infant so tender and mild
sleep in heavenly peace
sleep in heavenly peace

- Livi.