It has been a long evening...typical Monday. James ate on and off for 2 hours, as per evening usual. Brad barbecued hamburgers for dinner out in the snow (he really wanted hamburgers). I folded laundry in between nursing. Both guys fell asleep before 9:00pm, James on me and Brad in his chair. Two boxes of Christmas decorations sit on the living room floor waiting to be opened...so much for tonight. The house is quiet and dark, save for the Christmas tree. I love quiet times like this. For a moment no one needs me...I can ignore the housework that needs to be done and simply think. Think about a story passed down from generations, a story the same today as thousands of years ago. About the star that was beginning to appear in the heavens, that would lead men on a long journey across the wilderness to see their Savior. About the girl, probably scared to death, swollen large with child and probably cankles, trekking south with her betrothed. About the man leading the girl, his betrothed, pregnant with a child not his own. About the king, worried about the prediction, the prophesy of a new king...how is it he believed the child was the fulfillment, but so many didn't? About the plan, set long ago, put into motion at the bite of a fig (apple, whatever). And years rolled by...and I'm sitting next to a tree decorated with lights in honor of that child...a tree-out of place in our house in any house- just like the girl, and the man, and the child out of place in the society where they found themselves. It is a bit of a strange tradition. But tonight I'm soaking in the silence, and watching the shadows in the boughs and remembering what craziness was about to take place thousands of years ago, in a land that still exists, for a people who are still here.