Wow! It all happened so quickly. Our son and his girlfriend came from Topeka, and our daughter, who only lives 30 minutes from us packed up her hubby and two preschoolers and stayed overnight on Christmas Eve. I really enjoyed the relaxing time we had. No one was rushing away to get their babies home to bed. Big sister and little brother have taken naps at our house so getting them to sleep after opening the gifts was no big chore. I don't know if we've all been together under one roof since our daughter got married and started their family. I wouldn't mind making it a tradition. But it may not be up to me. With daughter and husband expecting their third next May, arranging for that to happen again could get complicated.
Everyone arrived around 4:30 or 5:00 p.m. so we could eat the ham and green bean soup supper I made. We went to our church for a candle-light communion service at 6:00. Having communion is kind of like having Christmas and Easter all rolled into one big celebration, the Birth and the Resurrection. Of course, the music is one of the things I enjoy most about Christmas. Singing carols together in a congregation of about 300 voices is heartwarming. I thought we could have sang the Hallelujah Chorus to bring it all to an exciting finale.
But quietly eating the bread and drinking of the cup before leaving the sanctuary, lit only by Christmas lights and dozens of candles, was a more appropriate way to "come to the manger" and worship. In the quietness I could almost feel Mary pondering all what was happening as the angel had told her it would, while the shepherds crowded around the little tableau surrounded by cattle, donkeys, and sheep. If I listened closely I could hear the doves cooing overhead, having been awakened by the bright light of the star and the commotion in the little stable. With the kitten asleep at Mary's feet, a mouse safely peeked out from his little doorway, whiskers twitching, to see what was going on. The smell of sweet hay mingled with the balmy breath of a cow standing next to Joseph, contentedly chewing her cud and lending the warmth of her ample body to keep the tiny baby from shivering in the chill of the night air.
We had a lot of fun watching the grandkids open their gifts. Big sister could hardly keep from helping little brother who was too much of a slopoke opening up his gifts. She was Papa Claus's little helper as she handed the gifts out to everyone. By the time we finished we were ankle deep in paper and bows. I got the softest, warmest, heavenly blue robe from my honey. We went a little wild on Christmas gifts this year since I had saved a nice little cache of money during the year. We talked about doing something different for gifts next Christmas - gift cards, and/or donating to a favorite charity and spending less on gifts. I sure do enjoy getting and giving gifts and seeing the pleasure on everyone's faces.
New Year's Day was quiet for us. I made our usual Chex snack mix and 3 dozen New Year's Cookies, a German tradition of making a raised sticky dough with raisins and a little nutmeg, then dropping by tablespoons into hot oil and frying. It's always fun to watch the little rolls turn themselves over. The temperature of the oil has to be just right so the outside doesn't overfry before the inside gets done. After draining we dip them in a thin white frosting or in plain sugar, allowing them to cool enough to eat and enjoy. Yummy. I always eat too many. I still have some peppernut dough to finish baking. I look forward to savoring the recent memories of a great little family Christmas.
I will try to be back in a couple of days to post some pictures. I've been trying to catch up on rest and getting back in the "groove" after the holidays. Several weeks ago I had an echocardiogram and the results show I have a mitral valve insufficiency (which I've known for several years) which has apparently worsened. One of the symptoms is fatigue. In fact, it's the main one I've been experiencing. I'll be seeing a cardiologist this week Wednesday. Please pray for the outcome of the appointment and any further tests. Of course, I don't want to have surgery which is a possibility. Another speed bump in life. We'll see what God has in store for us in 2009.
Thanks for stopping by. I pray God's blessing for you in 2009. Happy New Year.