Monday, December 26, 2011

Family and the Christmas Experience

This has been a wonderful Christmas for our family. This signifies the culmination of week number one for our holidays. We had a birthday party on Friday night for our daughter born Christmas Day. It was held at her church and was a surprise party attended by family and friends. Everyone brought food and we played various games. The children had a blast running in the gym and playing with each other. Then on Saturday night we had our celebration at their Great Grandparents home. This is a time for eating good food, doing a fun gift exchange and visiting with each other. When we all work together it makes these get-togethers easier to do.

Today started at 9am with an hour-long church service featuring the story of the birth of Christ and a wonderful choral presentation. Earlier in the month I attended the choral and orchestral presentation at George Fox College. Music reaches deep into my soul and brings peace to my spirit. My favorite Christmas song is "Mary's Lullaby." The story of the Savior's birth was made even more meaningful to me when I delivered my third child on Christmas Day. It was a difficult delivery and we were all exhausted. Then my two little ones, ages one and two came to visit us. What joy they felt as they greeted their new sibling. The song "Oh, Holy Night" resonates the spirit we felt that day. As the choir sang it this morning it was hard not to shed tears as I felt the wonderment of that occasion.

When we returned home, two of our sons provided a wonderful brunch. One of the things we did well as parents is to teach all of our children to cook. We had bacon, sausage, pancakes and a special recipe of eggs with a variety of ingredients. There were nine of us for breakfast. After we ate more than we should have, the fixings for dinner later in the day were started.

We finally adjourned to the living room to investigate our stockings and open a few presents. This year we kept it very simple, as part of our funds went to paying part of the airfare so our youngest daughter and her family could fly home. It has been a challenging year for us and we are very happy to have some wonderful time together. The grand children opened their presents and then were off to play. Some of us joined in playing a board game, but I decided to have a nap, which made a great difference in the rest of the day for me. After that I did a little kitchen clean up before they started to work on the dinner. Then while some worked on dinner, the rest of us played "Apples to Apples." By this time our numbers had increased to fourteen and things were in full swing. The grandkids had doubled in number to four and were thrilled to be playing together.

Dinner was on the table by six and some were seated around the table while others sat in the living room. We had ham, mashed potatoes, rolls, fruit and vegetables. We are all grateful for the dishwasher which, did two loads, and a third is waiting to be started. Desert was held off, so we could let our dinner settle. Our birthday daughter made a delicious pumpkin soufflé, which everyone had to try. We also had cheesecake, pumpkin pie and an apple pie. There are plenty of leftovers for the next few days.

Following this we once more gathered in the living room and more presents were opened. It is amazing the commotion created by opening a few gifts. Then some of us started a card game that lasted quite some time. The kids played happily in the living room with grandpa who had earned a much needed rest. As the evening came to a close the older two grand children were asking to spend the night, so we set up a tent in the living room and laid out the bedding. After their parents and great grandparents left it took them some time to settle down. Now they are blissfully dreaming all snuggled in their bed. I look forward to having them greet us in the morning.

These memories are what family history is all about. My mother commented that these would be moments that they would treasure all their lives. It is hard to have some live in a different state, but we have to make the most of the time we get to share. We are richly blessed to have our family, each and every member is key to the time we have on this earth. As they come to know their relatives they will grow to appreciate all the people who are a part of our extended family.

I hope you have many similar blessings in your lives. The key is to record the memories of these blessings while they are fresh. Using a computer makes this easier, but still requires dedicated effort. Writing a blog is further encouragement to record these special events and share them with others. Now I am off to sleep, so I can be fresh for the beginning of week number two.

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