Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is here at last and our celebration begins with going to Christmas Eve Mass as a family. Usually a simple supper follows, though this year our daughter who loves to cook fixed some fun hors d'oeuvres. The rest of our Christmas eve is usually filled with last minute wrapping of packages, picking up messes, or last minute food preparation for Christmas breakfast and dinner, visiting and perhaps a TV program before settling in for a long winter's nap. Family gathering and relaxing  is central to the event.

Santa comes while we sleep.  No more middle of the night assembling of toys with directions written in foreign languages we can't decipher or a last minute scramble to find a screw or nut that was missing from a kit. Our eldest has taken over the filling of stockings, though we all contribute small, practical or silly items to fill them. I used to count them all to be sure all were evenly filled. Now if anyone's stocking isn't full enough, a can can be pulled from the pantry.  This is motivation to all to be sure that enough stocking stuffers are gotten so that no one ends up with a can of baked beans in their stocking, which for some of us would be akin to "coal".

Our morning is lazy and all assemble around the Christmas tree in PJs and robes to open packages, and we break for coffee and breakfast, as needed. Our traditional Christmas breakfast is sausage biscuits, orange juice, tea and coffee or hot chocolate, though this year I think we may be having pancakes and bacon. We continue to meander through our day: visiting, cooking Christmas dinner, and enjoying our gifts and each other.  Sometimes friends stop in and sometimes we pull out a jigsaw puzzle or game.

I always ask for books and sampling a bit of each is a delight. Nothing is nicer than going back to bed with a good book in the afternoon and napping as the smells of turkey or ham warm the house. Some prefer to gather around the TV with a movie. Differences are permitted for happiness is whatever one prefers.

Christmas is the finale of every year, and we are finding that no matter our circumstances, just as morning follows night, so Christmas comes to finish off the year, no matter how challenging. Ornaments from generations decorate our tree, the family manger made by my husband as a boy and the creche figurines purchased at the Five and Ten Store with his mother along with the tiny old cardboard village houses, figures and bottle brush trees now tops the old upright piano that has been with me since childhood.  But most importantly, Christmas comes with family gathered to love and share this season together.

Nothing is perfect.  Our family, like others is a group that is unmatched.  There are tensions, and conflicts and often over little things that seem inconsequential in the big scheme of things. Love of family prevails and with it our faith in a loving and giving God that continues to bless us in all circumstances!

May God's peace be with you all this Christmas and holiday season!