Christmas Eve dawned clear and cold, and my daughter and I spent the day in the kitchen preparing our contributions to Christmas dinner. In the late afternoon, we attended the Children's Christmas Service at church, with part of our family -- the sanctuary filled with candles and the voices and talents of children.
The lights were dimmed and we all held candles as we sang my favorite carol, "Silent Night", in the semi-darkness of a late-December afternoon. How beautiful!!
On Christmas Day we all gathered at my oldest son's house -- a day of excited children, a beautiful and bountiful table, extended family (four generations of my husband's family), laughter, warmth and love. By the time we arrived back home in the evening, my body was exhausted, but my heart was full.
And today, I woke with the knowledge that there was no "to-do" list, no schedule, nothing but time to be thankful for the beautiful Christmas we all shared, and to ponder the memories of this December. Sometimes we are so busy with the details of this blessed holiday, we lose the spirit of the season. After all the gifts are opened, the meals finished, and the children tucked into bed for the night, we finally have the time to appreciate the true gift of Christmas -- the love of family and friends, and the birth of our Savior on that cold night in that tiny stable in Bethlehem.