Christmas Memories – Advent Devotion
December 9, 2020
“Sette e mezzo.”
Psalms 22:18; John 19:23-24
In my Advent devotion from November 30, “A tale of two Christmases,” I talked about how my family used to have two Christmases each year. One celebration would be on Christmas eve at my grandparents’ home (my Mom’s parents). Christmas day would be at my other grandparents’ house (my Dad’s parents).
What I didn’t talk about was what we did after our midnight dinner on Christmas eve. After all the dishes were cleared from the table, the adults would have coffee. Then an assortment of nuts, hot out of the oven, were dumped on the table.
Then we would begin playing Sette e mezzo. Sette e mezzo is Italian for seven and a half (7 ½). Sette e mezzo is an Italian card game similar to blackjack. It is traditionally played in Italy during the Christmas holidays.
Although there are unique decks of cards for the game of Sette e mezzo, you can also use conventional playing cards. All you have to do to adjust to this game is to take out all the 8’s, 9’s, and 10’s; face cards are worth ½.
After that, just like blackjack, everyone is dealt two cards. If you have a 7 and a face card, you have a natural 7 1/2 and win. As we had children involved when we played, we used the nuts on the table as money to bet.
The family would play the game until 4 or 5 a.m. before everyone finally left for home. It was a lot of fun and something kids could play and interact with the adult family members.
The crucifixion of Jesus is very difficult to imagine. The pain, the blood, the difficulty to breathe, the suffering He endured for us is difficult to think about. I believe for many, it’s something we push to the back of our consciousness, so we don’t have to think about it.
To add insult to injury, the four soldiers who crucified Jesus took His clothing and divided it amongst themselves, except Christ’s undertunic, a seamless piece of clothing. So, they threw dice to see who would get His tunic.
Yet, all of this had to happen, too, to fulfill scripture. Psalm 22 is very graphic in its prophecy of what would happen to Jesus, and verse 18 was also exact as to what would become of His clothing.
“They divide my garments among themselves
and throw dice for my clothing.”
Without knowing those four soldiers were fulfilling scripture. Even they, who crucified our Lord, were part of the grand plan of redemption.