Greetings, my fellow port swillers and Merry Christmas!

Ol’ Robbo finds himself marking time a bit this Christmas Eve, having got everything laid out for tomorrow’s festivities at Port Swiller Manor and now just waiting until it’s time to head out to Midnight Mass.  So for your delectation, a few observations:

♦  Last Sunday, Father P used as his text the Epistle of Paul in which Paul cautions his readers not to judge their fellows (saying, in fact, that he wouldn’t even judge himself – yeah, right) because God will take care of all that Himself, thank you very much.  (And as an aside, am I going to hell because Paul sometimes reminds me of Polonius in his micromanaging?)  In any event, one of the examples the padre used to illustrate Paul’s meaning was to caution us regular pew-dwellers against sneering at the Christmas and Easter crowd for their bad manners, ignorance of the form and general disruptiveness.  It was because I remembered this homily that I stopped myself this evening from wheeling around and glaring at the gang of young ladies in the pew behind me at RFEC who spent most of the service gossiping and giggling.   But I certainly felt like it.

♦  Speaking of which, the Family Robbo attended the early, “child-friendly” service at RFEC this evening.  This is the one in which the rector, instead of delivering a sermon, invites all the wee tots up to the sanctuary and reads them a kiddy “Christmas Story”.   Even  Mrs. R, Christianity-and-water as she is, remarked on how lame this was and insisted that, starting next year, we go to one of the more adult offerings.

♦   For all that, while we were at church, a brief snowfall swept over the area.  It was quite lovely, even more so for the fact that teh snow didn’t stick and therefore need not be dealt with.

♦   The Gospel this evening, of course, was Luke 2: 1-14.  My friends, I tell you that every single time I hear or read that passage, I start to tear up.  And I tell you something else, I get a particular frisson from lines 13 and 14:

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

              I have a very distinct vision of that scene in my mind which is, at the same time, untranslatable in any earthly form of  communication.  I suppose that, were I any artist, I would grapple with a way to articulate it, but maybe it’s better that I’m not and  I don’t try.

And while we’re at it, here’s teh classic rendition that has choked me up right proper for almost fifty years:

♦    Lastly, I mentioned tomorrow’s festivities.  It’s just the immediate Family Robbo and a widowed cousin, but it’s Christmas after all and therefore worthy of the old favorites, roast beef, Yorkshire pud and asparagus.  (Regular friends of the decanter will not be surprised that ol’ Robbo is rigidly orthodox in his views about holiday cooking:  Christmas – Roast Beef; Easter – Lamb; Fourth of July – Burgers and Dogs;  Thanksgiving – Turkey.  Period.)  Anyhoo, I pass on a tip from teh Mothe re an easy-peasy way to prepare the asparagus:  Peel it, put it in a microwave-friendly dish full of water, zap it for three minutes, serve with appropriate sauce or dressing and Bob’s your uncle.  (UPDATE:  See clarification in the comments below.  Inadvertent error courtesy of the NSA.)

Oh, and speaking of easy, regular friends of teh decanter may recall that last year I decided to try doing the roast outside on my Webber grill?  Well, it worked out okay in the end, but it was a heck of a battle fussing about with the coals and vents to try and stabilize the temperature.  I felt like a rookie pilot totally losing control of the yaw of his aircraft and wildly over-compensating.  In retrospect, I don’t think it was worth the bother, so this year the beast goes straight into the oven.

Aaaanyhoo, I posted this nonsense mostly so that I could say this:  A very merry Christmas to you all!  When I get home in the wee hours tonight, I will pour myself a glass of port before staggering up to bed and toast (among others) those of you who drop by here to share in Robbo’s ramblings.  God bless you, every one!

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