Merry Christmas, family and friends!
It's Christmas Eve, and I am so happy to be relaxing, waiting for my sister to arrive, and writing a holiday post.
The tree is decorated - I love the soft glow of Christmas tree lights!
The gifts are wrapped - I love seeing all of the different colors and patterns arranged under the tree!
All of the cards we have received are displayed in our 'gallery' - it's so nice to get cards and photos from all of our distant and not-so-distant family and friends.
My Mom has been here for several days already, and has been a great help with the gift-wrapping, cooking, child-wrangling, laundry, mailing, shopping.... That's a gift in itself! Big J has also been off this week, helping out with the kids, the cars (oil changes, new tires) and other tasks around the house, and was in charge of snowman construction over the weekend. Merry Christmas to me!
Now, though, it's time to sit back and enjoy all of these preparations in the peace of the evening before we go to bed and await Santa's arrival. The children have been in bed for a few hours now, though I know that they didn't go to sleep right away.
We attended two Christmas Eve services today, beginning with the Children's Christmas Eve Service. Any child that wants to participate in this service can, which is wonderful! Miss M was an angel and Mister J preferred to stay in the congregation and sing. After a quick dinner (Thank You and Merry Christmas to all who were on duty at McDonald's this evening!), we were back at church to hear Big J singing with the choir during the Service of Lessons and Carols. It's a much longer service, including candlelight and Communion, and the kids hung in there! After getting the wiggles out, they were very excited about the 'fire!' at the end ;)
We looked at Christmas lights on the way home, had some Christmas goodies for an evening snack, and let the kids watch a little TV while we wrapped the last couple of (hard-to-wrap!) gifts. Then, it was off to bed in their new Christmas jammies!
While much of what I am enjoying would be considered the 'stuff' of Christmas - the food, the lights, the giftwrap and ribbons - I was struck this evening by the simple beauty of some of the things around me. We had snow last Friday. As I sat in the balcony during the Service of Lessons and Carols, I could see the last of the day's light reflecting off of the snow and through the translucent glass of the sanctuary windows. Then there were all of the different sounds and styles of music from our choirs and special musicians. The Christmas story. Taking Communion with my little boy. The soft glow of the candlelight as it spread through the congregation. Tonight, it really feels like Christmas to me.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. May you have a blessed holiday, wonderful moments with family and friends, and the simple beauty that means 'Christmas" to you.