There's nothing like Christmas with family! And this year, "everyone" was home, both at my husband's family (Christmas Eve) and mine (Christmas Day). Wally's sis cooked a fantastic turkey and spread a beautiful table groaning with food. Gord carved and we laughed and talked and caught up around the dining table. Mom K added her desserts to the abundance, and the bubbly pomegranate juice and hot drinks were perfect accompaniment. The four youngest adults 'escaped' the older crowd and perched with plates in hand on the sofa nearby, snagging seconds without having to push past our chairs. They read the Christmas story aloud to us all.
We headed for my brother's and Carrie's about 10, just in time to catch a cup of tea, a quick visit, a few homemade glasses of juice (Omega Vert juicer, amazing!) and a sound sleep until morning.
30 of us gathered at my Mom and Dad's on Christmas Day. We were only missing one young niece and her husband. There were toddlers and teens, seniors and young marrieds, and everything between. We gathered in Chilliwack (Canada) from North Carolina, Seattle, Edmonton, Kenya via London, Germany, and Switzerland. Good thing our folks have kept the family home for 37 years... we used all three storeys. "Oh, just walking in the door it smells like Christmas at Grandma's," sighed our daughter.
First, everyone settled in: the women chased the guys out of the dining room with a "Servants only!" and had tea and cookies while the bird finished cooking. By 1.30, Grandma had finished making her specialties. The turkey and stuffing were terrific. The young moms fed their little kids while a few of us dished up the entree and side dishes.
One-two-three. The rush for the table by adults, dispersed throughout the house with heaped plates. Then the young women helped tidy and set up desserts. ("No, you can't have any now. We have to do presents, first!")
It's always hard on kids to wait for gifts. We had solved the 2-3 year old boys' competition for the one cool car-with-noise (before opening presents) by sneaking it out of sight when the boys looked away. We put it up on the highest hutch. Out of sight = out of screams and yelps.
Finally it was time to share gifts. "I've never had presents at Christmas before. It's not our family tradition," said one newcomer. Oh well, she seemed to quickly get used to it. (Dahers give presents and love to give more than to get.)
Of course, the youngsters had their moments of temper, noise, and tears. It was all amusing and - for someone like me, with no little kids - great fun to watch parents soothe their own and send them back into the fray.
Then we had the dozen or so desserts and cakes and cookies... and Norm used his Euro-coffee maker that grinds beans and makes killer coffee. Time to reflect, enjoy, connect.
Our clan drove home late on Christmas night with contentment. There's no one like family - and family that is part of God's Family is best of all!
In the quiet, after all the hustle and bustle of the day, I thought about a stable, the manger where a baby was wrapped against the cold, and a young couple wondering at how they would raise a child born so poor and in such strange circumstances. Who knew such an inauspicious beginning would unite us in relationship to God, and bring the wonder of Christmas to the whole world?