Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

The decorations are in place. Old favorites that make Christmas, Christmas and new ones like a second Christmas tree. With all the gifts finally wrapped, the bows all tied, and the errands complete, our family gathered around the tree. (The eye doctor was uneventful except for the precautions I was given regarding retinal detachment. Apparently I am at risk due to the type of vision loss I have. I did receive a new prescription for glasses. I have a contact lens appointment on Wednesday and then I will have all this behind me.)

Each year Christmas is a little different, and I have decided that is part of our tradition. This year to help with the hustle and bustle of Christmas Day, it was decided that we would exchange our presents on Christmas Eve. This also allows Stuart, Michelle, and Jacob to begin to establish some of their own tradition on Christmas morning, and Roger and Alisa to get back to her family to spend Christmas evening with them.

I remember the days when we would argue with who was going to be "Santa" and pass out the presents. It's isn't that way any more. Thankfully there is a little red headed guy who immediately volunteered and took charge. I think once the person who passed out the gifts had to wear the Santa hat or the reindeer antlers, it wasn't such a popular gig. I must brag on my sweet little nephew. He has started to learn to recognize names and did a stand up job at reading the tags and getting the right present to the right person. Occasionally he had to ask for help, but that was normally do to the giver writing some one's nickname on the tag.

There are a few things that never change at my house. Everyone must watch the one opening the present, though this is getting a little less strict. The fact that there is a certain order to opening presents. You can't open this gift because it won't make sense until you open another gift. This means that it is a two part gift and my mom wants you to open it in the correct order. (Now this was very different from when we were growing up and only could open one gift on Christmas Eve. I specifically remember one year getting a phone jack. I was about 12 or 13. I had actually asked for a phone. I didn't get to open it until the next day which was torture at that age. Or there was the year that Roger received a controller to the Nintendo, and didn't get the actual Nintendo until the Christmas Day.) You can't open that gift until we find Alisa's and Michelle's too. Now this is code for the fact we all got the exact same thing and Mom wants us to open them at the same time. Or there is the always present, now where did I put ___________. Which means my mom forgot to wrap something entirely. It's never dull around our house!

Once the gifts had been opened it was on to a fairly recent tradition of the Christmas Eve tamale dinner. This year we also had pinto beans and cornbread. While it may seem a little odd it was wonderful! We also had several pizzas for those who don't eat tamales.

The rest of the evening was filled with conversation, playing with Hot Wheels (Three guesses for who received those and the first two don't count!), and sitting by the fire.

The house is quiet and the tree is bare- well, the underneath side. The paper and bows that were ripped to shreds have been discarded. The laughter has died and the table has been cleared. The living room has been picked up and preparations for Christmas lunch have already begun. In spite of all the business that this time of year brings, I pray each of us remembers that over 2000 years ago the first Christmas. The announcement of the birth of a baby boy by angels to a group of shepherds. This baby was no ordinary baby, but God wrapped in human skin. Both God and man in the form of a helpless baby. Immanuel, God with us. My prayer for myself, my family, and everyone else is that wonder of this season is fresh this year. That the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ is not forgotten and that we all have the opportunity to awe at the most precious gift ever given.

Merry Christmas!

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