Then the temperatures dropped a bit and the snow started to fall, we started to make cookies and started some new traditions with my mom and Keith and my cousin and his family. The gifts were wrapped and the excitement built. The bible verses were read, full of waiting and wondering and anticipating the beautiful gift of Jesus that had been prophesied about for ages.
The spirit of Christmas grabbed hold. And it was beautiful. It is beautiful.
I think Christmas Eve might be my favorite day of the year. Although, like picking my favorite child or my favorite season of the year, it is impossible to decide since there are so many good days. At any rate, it is a quiet family day for us, full of our own little traditions that make me so happy and help me focus on the beauty of the season, the coming of my Savior, the little baby who changed the world, the love of my family.
We play games, we read books, we wrap any last minute gifts, we hang out. This year we baked cookies. Some years we play in the snow. It is a day for relaxing and family. I put soup in the crockpot so a steaming hot and delicious smelling meal is waiting for us when we return from church. We go to church in the late afternoon and sing Silent Night, candles held tightly, just as darkness falls. After church we drive around to look at Christmas lights.
|making Jim's favorite cookies|
This year the three big kids sat and sang all of our favorite songs. Elliot got hot and took off his sweater and sat in church in his tres shirt. Asher stood on my lap and waved his arms to conduct the musicians, said "dance, dance, dance" every time the music stopped, and actually made it through the entire service without having to be escorted to the back by his bouncer mama or dada.
The church service was beautiful. The pastor talked about her Christmas tree as a child. How they would leave it on when they went to church on Christmas Eve and when they came home the glow of the lights would illuminate the living room. How God sent Jesus to do just that, illuminate the dark. How we are called to do just that, be light in a dark world. Then they turned the lights off and we held our candles and sang Silent Night. I looked down the row and saw my husband and three of my kids staring at their lights, singing gently so as not to blow the candles out, and tears streamed down my face at the love felt within that room and the love shown to the world by Jesus and the opportunities to love we are given each day and the love I felt for the little Asher-boy in my lap and the rest of my family as I watched them. Jim smiled at me over the tops of those four little heads because he knows I always cry in moments like that. It was just such a tender, holy, big moment. One of those moments where my heart is so filled with love that my eyes overflow with tears.
|In front of the tree at church|
|in front of the tree at home|
|under the stockings lovingly made by Jim's aunt|
|Choochie Face and his gift, lovingly wrapped by Elliot|
|Snuggled in to watch The Nutcracker ballet|
|Ready for Santa|
|Ready for kids on Christmas morn|
|checking out their stockings|
|happy with all those hair binders|
|So happy sitting at his own little table|
|Teamwork to bring me my big gift|
|he's unwrapping his own gift!!!|
|A happy Anne of Green Gables reader|
|whispering Christmas secrets|
|fierce skier ready to hit the slopes|
|happy mama. happy baby|
|Heroes of Olympus|
My mom came over for a nice lunch and the snow started to fall. It was just lovely. Isaac, Audrey, and Elliot drove home with my mom to spend the night and help her shop on the 26th since she was waiting to score some sweet deals as we are celebrating with my grandparents and my brother and his family later this week. That's when we'll have the family-filled, noisy, grand Christmas celebration. We're happy to have that one to look forward to, but there is just something wonderful about our simple, quiet (you know, for six people) Christmas Eve and Christmas at home.
How did you celebrate? What was your favorite gift?
P.S. Bonus points if you made it all the way to the end of this loooong and picture-filled post. Looks like you're ready to tackle Gone with the Wind now.