Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

"One day, every trembling heart will face the same way."

This year we sang in choir for two of the four services at our church. My son and daughter-in-love are here, having arrived in time for my birthday and returning to their home on Christmas night as other family and a wedding commitment follow soon. We are quietly celebrating together with Henry's sons, another soul-daughter, and a buddy of one son whose own family doesn't have a Christmas eve tradition. He was with us last year too, we're so happy to make this an annual thing!

Rebecca is thrilled to have her first Christmas in Calgary, and got her wish that it would be a white christmas! It's been snowing all night and all day, snowfall warnings in effect, but it is so beautiful.

Last night we all four went to the Flames game vs. the Canucks and enjoyed high energy play with a home team win. Perfect prep to launch us into Christmas weekend with joy!

Andrew has taken ill, having been going a blistering pace with two jobs and attending university, plus recovering from concussion and whiplash from a major car collision eight weeks ago. His immune system must have noticed things had slowed down and decided influenza could come to visit. Bummer. Some turkey soup, tylenol and a good nap are the order of the day. In the meantime, Rebecca and I are sitting quietly listening to holiday music, sipping wine, as she works on a cross-stitch project.

My dear husband has his own long-standing family Christmas eve tradition: ordering take out Chinese food for Christmas eve supper. "I don't want you to have to cook, nor anyone to have to clean up after." We just want to enjoy each other and celebrate the season together over a meal.

Our tradition afterward is to gather around the tree and share gifts, beginning this year with my decidedly new tradition of giving tree ornaments that suit each person. I began last year by proposing to Andrew that we exchange ornaments annually that remind us of a memory we have shared together. This year I've added to my tradition the beginning of what will be annual, giving each person an ornament that reminds me of something I know about them, their interests or their personality.

Then the longstanding tradition from both families is to exchange gifts and perhaps play a few games or watch a favorite Christmas movie.

Tomorrow is our second year to serve as emcees for the annual Christmas Dinner at the church. One of our catering staff organizes volunteers who prepare a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, games, activities, and small gifts for about 300 people: anyone who is alone on Christmas day or can't afford to make a turkey dinner of their own. The guys from Teen Challenge come, single folks, bus loads from homeless shelters, and anyone else. Last year there was a musical family who sang and led us in carols. There was also a photographer who took Christmas portraits of all who wished to have one.

The snow continues to fall. I am grateful for the presence of Christ and the love of family and friends. I pray God's peace and joy will be yours in abundance this weekend and throughout the coming year. Thank you for being part of my life. You bless me in ways you will never know.

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