I sit in a silent house.
This is the first miracle of this Christmas.
It's 7:45AM on Christmas Eve morning. I've made biscuits, sorted laundry, done a load of laundry, prepped some food for later, folded laundry, and done a dozen miscellaneous tasks. A turkey breast is cooking slowly in the corckpot and there's homemade cranberry sauce in the fridge.
The children are ALL still asleep. All of them. Even the ones who usually get up at 6:30am.
I put five little gifts next to the tree. Gifts for my children, who will be incredibly surprised when they open them. Perhaps not pleasantly surprised, as they are the gifts that we have been promising since Thanksgiving: a nosewarmer for Alexander, new dart for Zachary (HIMYM reference), holes for Haley (she said she had a (w)hole list of stuff she wanted, so we told her we'd give her holes), coal for Coren (although he may have wanted the Ninjago minifigure, Cole) and a ski mask for Alia. I do have to admit that Alia will most likely fully accept her gift as her one and only Christmas gift and be overjoyed with it. For over a month, when asked what she wants for Christmas, she's said a ski mask. She may not want to use it on our 60 degree Farenheit Christmas Day, though. Their "real" gifts are waiting in the basement, but we don't need to tell them that.
My husband was off to work at 5am. I'm feeling lonely here without him on what should be a family day. He will get to join us for worship this evening, which will be wonderful.
Zachary is the first downstairs, muttering unintelligible words to my "Blessed Christmas Eve" greeting. Coren is close behind, mumbling some form of greeting. Alia bounds down the stairs in her usual energetic way and gets to work making eggs for whomever wants them. I don't expect to see Alex for a while. I predict Haley will emerge within a half hour.
What a peaceful start to what I hope will prove to be a wonderful Christmas.
Christmas Eve. The children are finally in bed after a long but wonderful day.
While I continued down my OCD Christmas preparation path, the children played and stayed out of my way, lest they be asked to help. They did make an epic Christmas Eve dessert: a tree made out of marshmallows, chocolate, and gummy worm pieces. We waited, and waited, and waited for it to be time to head to church.
How I loved singing Christmas hymns with the choir before worship and witnessing my children help with worship, two as acolytes, Alia as an usher alongside her Papa. Haley's beautiful voice singing the Chirstmas Rose brought tears to my eyes as I struggled to contain my emotions while singing. Once home, we had a wonderful turkey dinner, followed by the great Opening of the Gifts.
The children were amused by and happy with their gifts. The "gag" gifts, that is. Well, maybe not Coren, the recipient of a lump of coal...
Genuinely surprised when Daddy went to get the "real" gifts, their excitement grew even bigger. After they opened their gifts: a microscope and anatomy/physiology flash cards for Alia; a Ninjago set and Egyptian digging kit for Coren; a Wii Fit board and Wii Fit Plus game for Haley; and snowball makers/launchers and Magic the Gathering Cards for Zachary and Alex, I marveled that we spent a grand total of $36 on all the gifts combined, thanks to thrift stores and sales. Who says Christmas needs to break the bank?
Christmas Eve FAITH5 brings highs of spending time with family, singing, helping, and being together.
Not yet ready to nestle all snug in their beds, the children have retreated upstairs to watch a movie while Jim and I try best not to fall asleep.
Love pours over me as I reflect on our Christmas Eve. That my kids gave their time and talents to help make worship special for all; that they were content with silly gifts and overjoyed with the "extras," gives testament to their kind hearts and generous spirits.
I can barely wait for tomorrow to begin. But first, sleep.