Today Jo's sister had her baby, a boy - Alexander George, a brother for Isabella. Hopefully we'll get to visit them on Saturday, bringing gifts.
We've just got home from a most wonderful evening at the Lovell's, celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany (which remembers the Magi's, or wise men's, journey following the star that led them to Jesus; and the gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh they presented to him) with other members of our community: John, Liz, Susie and her boyfriend Ged, and Sam; Sharon and Diane; and Jo and me.
Liz put on an incredible meal - to start, prawn-and-mixed-leaf salad with pine nuts; followed by ham bolied in apple juice before being roasted with mustard, sugar and cloves; with curly-kail, carrot, leek in a creamy sauce, and baked potato on the side; and rounded off with a mixed plate of stollen bread, Turkish Delight, chocolates, nuts, and tangerines. And all washed down with plenty of wine. Gifts fit for a king, no question.
The food was fantastic, and the company a lot of fun. But the thing that excited me most ("More than people, fair enough; but more than good food and wine?", those that know me well may ask) was the new (to us, at least) tradition Liz had introduced. When we were ushered to our seats, there were three gifts waiting, alluding to gold (sparkly nail varnish for the ladies; a yellow highlighter pen for the men - think 'making the ordinary stand out'), incense (bath pearls for the ladies; chocolate for the men - think 'pleasing aroma'), and myrrh (manicure boards for the ladies; a 'tip-ex' mouse for the men - think 'removing/covering-over our errors'), all individually wrapped. And cards, which passed right round the table over the course of the meal, with each of us writing something for the person to whom it was addressed.
I really appreciate Liz's thoughtfulness, and am inspired again by such prophetic acting-out remonders of the Good News we hope in.