My church has these ornament groups.
I guess the first one was started some ten or so years ago. 8-10 women get together and for some time beforehand, you are required to make a homemade ornament for all of the other people in your group. You get together...eat some sort of predetermined menu and talk...while exchanging your gifts.
You're lucky if you can get in to one of these groups. They fill up fast and unless someone moves or quits, there are no open spots. You do have the choice of starting one of your own group but...ehhh...who wants to go to that trouble?!?
It's very depressing every year to know everyone is taking off for their party and you're not in a group. It's similar to high school. Thus, I responded as a 10th grader:
Whining, complaining, pouting, griping, accusing...etc,etc,etc. ANYTHING to send the point that I NEEDED to be included!
Well, this year I got the grand invitation! A new group was started and while I'd never met the lady that developed the group she said when she started putting out feelers for who to invite, my name kept coming up in EVERY conversation!
Well, I only spent about 10 minutes doing my ornaments before I wanted to quit! I'm not so crafty anymore and the pressure to make something clever or cute or just transportable was intense! I was completely stressed.
I have been studying the various names of God with the boys this year and so I decided to make "Names of God" ornaments. A good buddy of mine ordered the lettering for them and Matt and I attempted to paint the inside of the glass ornaments. This is not as easy as some might think. Long story...One for another day.
Needless to say, I finished them and made my way to the party with Amy.
It was great. I met a BUNCH of new women who I instantly felt close to. Each ornament was unique to everyone's personality and I ended up with 10 really great pieces for my tree.
The most special part of the evening was getting to know my friend Monica better. Monica is fighting stage four lung cancer and although she spent the day dealing with a new difficult diagnosis, she still loaded up her handmade ornaments and laughed the night away with us. She is lovely...that's the only way I know to describe her. I made Monica her own individual ornament with the name "Yahweh Rophe" which means "The God Who Heals."
Monica is a mom that is my age with small kids. To look at her situation, one shudders to make sense of it all and imagine how they would deal with it. I choose to not look at what is happening to her but at the God who is allowing it. He is good and right and just and He only does what is best for His kids. Monica's presence alone reminded me of what Christmas is really about. The nearness of God in our lives, giving us a hope in spite of our pain.
My ornament group. Another blessing from God affirming I'm right where I need to be for now.