The day after Christmas is the loveliest of days when it falls on a weekend. This morning is shrouded in clouds, with a light coating of sleety snow and the threat of freezing rain, but it is peaceful, and I finally have a moment to sit in my cozy chair, coffee at hand, and put pen to paper.
The holiday week has been stressful. Work issues caused turbulence as we attempted to finish two projects in half the time originally specified. Since our office is in our home, the stressful atmosphere also affected my two already over-excited grandbabies. By Wednesday they were boisterously out of control. In the midst of the clamor I was slowly working along to put the finishing touches on Christmas – the gifts, the flowers, the food – all the traditions so much a part of our family Christmas.
As the morning of Christmas Eve dawned, my to-do list was still large. I put a pot of soup on to simmer for the Christmas Eve supper with my daughter and one son & his family. An unexpected visit from a friend with a tiny new baby girl was the highlight of my day. I held this adorable little gift from God in my arms, marveling once again at her baby scent and velvety softness. Looking at her big brother playing nearby, I remembered how quickly these tiny ones grow into robust children – we must take the time to savor the tender moments of their infancy.
By early afternoon, as I returned to peeling and dicing potatoes for two large casseroles of au gratin potatoes, I noticed a spike in my blood pressure, which necessitated a quick trip to Urgent Care, where I was pronounced healthy enough to return to my cooking. The afternoon passed quickly as I prepared the cheese sauce, frosted a cake, and made a pan of brownies. The table was set with my prettiest china, and everything had finally come together for our Christmas celebrations.
After church my family arrived, hungry and in good spirits, and we enjoyed our Christmas Eve repast. All three of my children and their families gathered here Christmas morning to exchange gifts. As we munched bagels and drank coffee, the babies delighted in their new toys, as my older grandson helped referee the squabbles. One of my sons and his family returned for our late-afternoon Christmas dinner – a lovely, quiet meal by candlelight. They lingered after dinner and my little grandson enchanted us all with his antics.
And now, it is all over – the shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, and the laughter. This morning it is once again quiet in this old house. I love Christmas – it is my most favorite holiday, with its message of peace and joy, its greenery and candlelight, and the loving gestures which warm our hearts. But, I think today I love this “day after” even more – when I can sit peacefully in the early morning stillness of my beloved home, with no chores ahead of me, and ponder the lovely memories of Christmas 2009.