The weather-guessers have been telling us for days that there was an increasing chance of snow Christmas eve and through into Christmas Day. Last night as we were loading the kiddies in the cars and giving and receiving Christmas hugs and wishes, the tiniest of flakes began to drift down. By the time we got the last of the grandkids secured and the doors closed and the motors started, the snow was falling in earnest.
We do this every year, but this year we started a couple of hours earlier so the wound-up kiddlies would have a chance to wind down a little before bedtime. It worked out just fine but it was harder for me and MC to get ready for it; I guess we'll have to get used to it.
Our Christmas Eve tradition started out as a simple finger-food dinner, a quiet affair designed to be like what Joseph and Mary might have had to eat 'way back then. I know they wouldn't have eaten ham, but we won't eat lamb so it balances out for us to have a spiral-cut, honey-glazed ham. We had nuts and fruit (fresh and dried), veggies and pita bread, sprouts and dates and figs and such. Over the years its original intent has kinda been lost. We get together with the kids and all their kids and it just is not what you would call quiet. Well, we love it. The grandkids love it. I think our kids still love it. When they were young and we had some pretty skinny Christmases, we would discuss with them the limits of our resources. They were always adamant that there be no cuts in the Christmas Eve dinner; it was their favorite part of Christmas.
The clean-up takes longer each year. I am older each year. But every time I get the family in the same room and see all the smiles and anticipation of something great coming, I can't see ever changing it.
Got up this morning and the snow was there, not a whole lot of it but enough to cover everything. All the grandkids will be excited about that. It isn't so unusual to have snow on Christmas here. I recall the many Christmases we have shared as a family; many of them were snow-covered, some were just cold, some hot, some foggy, and some just right. Christmases in California and Arizona and Missouri and Texas, Christmases in Germany and for me, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Hawaii, and Japan. MC had some in New York and Ohio and Illinois. For some we were together, for some we were separated. One Christmas we had a couple of weeks early since we knew that on Christmas, MC and the kids would be in Germany and I would be in Saudi Arabia...or Iraq...or Kuwait...we weren't really sure where I would be, just for sure where I wouldn't be.
I look around the living room and see ornaments and decorations: stuffed snowmen, angels, a red-coated Santa who tells us: "Remember, the spirit of Christmas lies in your heart" whenever you squeeze his hand. Two snowmen carolers who just stood there on their wooden stands until my teenage daughter taught them how to dance, all manner of reminders of all those Christmases all over the world; and I feel good. As a husband and a father I haven't always done things right. But I can honestly say that we did Christmas well in our home and that makes me happy.
The highlight of last evening was when our little Marine, Emily (they grandaughter who was the bugler at military funerals and ceremonies) Skyped in during the opening of presents and was able to watch her brother, sisters, and cousins open the presents she had sent to them. She is at the NAS Yuma in Arizona.
So MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all. Thanks for all the good wishes and comments and for reading my drivel all year. I do appreciate you all and hope you are warm, comfy, and with someone you love.