Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Present

As much as we would love to keep our family traditions ... they do change. Children get older, they marry, they move away from "home", they have children ... loved ones faith becomes sight as they bow singing Holy Holy Holy to The One whom we celebrate on Christmas.  Traditions may eventually become a treasured memory that become oral history to pass down to our future generations.  

My Christmas present actually begins when Grandad & I celebrated our first Christmas as husband & wife ... in 1984.  It was then that we discovered we had a sneaky little mouse in our apartment.  One that would gently lift the tape off of his presents to me, then would re-tape the wrapping paper to the gift as well as it could.  Yes, that little mouse was a sneaky little thing, and got me in trouble more than I care to admit throughout our past 28 Christmases together. (And just for the record ... I will always plead my 5th Amendment rights when it comes to being "interrogated" over Christmas presents ... I have no idea why that little mouse never bothered the gifts that I would give Grandad ... I just do not know why at all.)

Back to traditions ... 

When our daughter (the now Mrs. 'Joe) was younger, the three of us always would go out for a nice Christmas Eve dinner, followed by Christmas Eve church service.  We would then go back home, get out our snacks, and make my Mother's Christmas Eve punch ... and exchange gifts. The Christmas Eve opening gifts tradition stayed with me, and I carried it into my own family's new traditions. 

Then, on Christmas morning ... Santa left his presents for our daughter ... oh yeah, and the elves filled her stocking (Santa wanted to make sure that if he had to work on Christmas Eve, so did his elves:) 
After Santa came, the 3 of us would load up our car to drive to my parents' (at that time they were 3 hours away from us).  My sister & her family would be there, and we would have dinner, open more gifts, and spend the night with them.  The next day (normally) we would head out of state to visit Grandad's family and the rest of my family.  So, Christmas was a celebration that lasted for several days in our household.

Christmas Eve 2005 brought another change in our traditions ... Mr & Mrs 'Joe's wedding day.  They were married Christmas Eve morning and my parents, sister & family, and one of my cousins attended from our family.  It's a challenge to get everyone together these days with some of us away from home & out of state.  But, we actually pulled off a Christmas Eve wedding, and had our traditional Christmas Day celebration at my parents' house (around 1 1/2 hours away now).  It was a different Christmas, but Jesus' birth was still celebrated that weekend.  

My husband walking our daughter down the aisle on Christmas Eve 2005 ...  

The father of the bride singing at his daughter's wedding ... The Day Before You:

The following year brought another change to our traditions.  'Joe was still deployed.  It was a totally different feel and emotion to our celebration of Jesus. The year had passed us by & their first year of marriage was behind them ... Mrs at home and Mr in the sandbox.  But, God was and still is good in His provision of grace and He brought Mr & Mrs 'Joe through it.  And we celebrate Jesus for it.

You know, there is one tradition that has not been broken since its inception December 1964 ... I have always seen my parents on Christmas Day.  I know that may sound a bit trivial to some, but with all the changes in traditions and changes in family ... no matter what the circumstances surrounding each Christmas Day ... I have always seen my parents on Christmas Day.  And to me, that's one of my favorite gifts, and one of my favorite traditions.

So as I prepare for sleep tonight ... and prepare for Santa to leave his presents for Lucy ...
I look forward to spending Christmas Day 2011 with my family ...
and celebrating the Greatest Gift whom has been given to each of us.

Happy Birthday Jesus ~~~ Thank You for being my Christmas!

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