Wednesday, December 17, 2014

With Cup in Hand


The sky is gray, and the branches, unclad for winter, run through it like brown cracks.

I stand at the sink and do last night's dishes.  There aren't many.  Our big soup pot, a brownie pan, seven brown mugs.  We had our small group Christmas party last night.  You can't have a Christmas party without wassail - one of the things my mama taught me about hostessing.  It's easy; you heat apple cider and cranberry juice on the stove, add cloves and cinnamon sticks, cut up an orange or a lemon, add sugar to taste.  It makes one's house smell like Christmas, and the inaugural swallow warms all the way down.

I dip my hands in the hot water and look at the sky.  Anna toddles from an open cabinet to the island, singing her own little song full of her own little words.  I swipe the dishrag around the rim of a mug, rinse, repeat.  The mugs were a gift from my uncle and aunt.  They're simple and beautiful, my favorite kind of thing.  I think of the hands that cupped round them last night as we watched It's a Wonderful Life and lingered after, laughing over stories of our awkward younger selves.

Just a cup.  Just a drink.  Just a roomful of people piled on a couch and stretched out on a scratchy jute rug.  But it's more, for Psalm 68:6 says God sets the lonely in families.  Doesn't He?  Can't it even be said that's the reason Jesus came, to bring us into His bloodline, to call us His brothers?  And on a cold December day when we wonder why He lingers, it is this answer too.  He waits in patient kindness, so that the family might swell even more.

The dishes are clean, stacked precariously in our tiny dishpan.  I unplug the sink and give one more glance at the sky.  It is unchanged in its somber shade, but inside these brick walls, we'll set a pot to simmer on the stove, and we'll keep filling the brown mugs up through all the heavy gray days.


2 comments:

  1. I'm pleased that the cups have such meaning for you. :)

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    Replies
    1. They do, Uncle Alan! All of the dishes you gave me do. They are definitely heirloom pieces. :)

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