I’ll admit, I was not terribly looking forward to Christmas this year. It was the first time–ever–that I haven’t been with my extended family for Christmas, and only the second time (the first time being when he was in Iraq) that my husband has missed his family’s get-togethers.
Needless to say, we were both a little bummed at the way things have worked out this year. By next week, we’ll be home for “the holidays,” or what’s left of them.
So I was surprised at how good our Christmas was. It started on Sunday with our annual “White Christmas” viewing complete with cookies and egg nog. Our son wholeheartedly embraced the eggnog tradition, proclaiming it a better drink than hot chocolate and our daughter was inspired by the dance moves and twirled and tapped her way through the living room for two days.
Then on Christmas Eve, we attended our church’s candlelight and communion service, the first time we’ve been able to attend it because we’re usually at our home church in Illinois on Christmas Eve. It was lovely and inspiring and I found myself blessed and joyful in spite of how I was feeling earlier in the day. And our daughter took communion for the first time. It wasn’t something we planned, but we talked with her about it and later she told us: “The bread is Jesus’ body. The juice is his blood. And he died.” That pretty much sums it up. We have further reason to nurture her faith.
My husband and I did the whole put the kids to bed and then wrap presents and play Santa gig. We have a new appreciation for what our parents endured all those years.
Even though most of what “Santa” brought the kids was toys we had in the attic that other people have given us, the kids were thrilled. “Santa brought us so much stuff!” our 3-year-old son repeated. We spent the rest of the morning in our jammies, watching the kids play with Barbies and Ninja Turtles. We video called with the grandparents then headed over the river (there was no river; more like a mountain) and through the woods (it is sort of wooded) to our friends’ house for Christmas dinner. What an enjoyable time we had there! Later we collapsed into Christmas exhaustion and welcomed a snow/ice storm the next day.
In the days after Christmas, we have eaten too many Christmas cookies, and I, personally, have indulged in more coffee than is probably healthy. We are packing and preparing for a trip west to see family and friends. And hoping for better days to come in the new year. And if not better days, then better attitudes to face whatever the days may bring.
Christmas blessings to you, all.