I called Mama and Daddy, and Amber and David (my sister and her husband) to see if they could come over as well. Barring any natural disasters or serious scheduling issues, everyone will be here for Christmas!!!! This is wonderful news for several different reasons:
- The house in which I am living is also the house in which I grew up. We bought it from Mama and Daddy when they decided to move back home to Louisiana. It will be fun to have the whole family back home in the old house for Christmas again. We are so geographically spread out these days, that getting all of us together at one time is quite a challenge.
- I have a piano now! This means that we can sing around the piano to our heart's content and it will really "feel" like Christmas. Not to mention the fact that I will once again hear the sound of Mama's playing as I cook and work around the house.
- All of the cousins will be together for Christmas morning. One of my best memories ever of Christmas as a child, was the one when we stayed with my aunt and uncle Christmas Eve and all six cousins slept in one bedroom. We could barely stand the excitement of waiting for Santa Claus, and we didn't sleep much that night. When I became an adult, I learned that my parents and my aunt and uncle had a great time that night as well staying up late to assemble toys and arrange them in the living room for a crew of six children! I want my children and my brother and sister's children to have the same kinds of memories to carry into adulthood with them.
- My family keeps Christ in the center of the celebrations. One of my favorite traditions is the reading of the Christmas story from Luke on Christmas Eve. We have been doing this since before I was born, first at the annual family reunions at my paternal great-grandparents home when I was a small child, and then at our house as my parents established traditions of their own, and we stayed in Texas for Christmas. I remember it being sort of an honor to be asked to read the story at my great-grandparent's house. The atmosphere would change from loud and rambunctious to quiet and respectful as Papa's worn Bible was opened and read. The person reading was careful to speak loudly and clearly so that their voice could be heard throughout the house and out on the porch where people had spilled out for lack of seating. After the story was read, a prayer of thanksgiving was said over our family and then someone always sat down at the piano and played a carol to accompany the myriad of Christian voices praising God for the gift of His son. The song Silent Night echoes in my mind, but I'm sure that there were other songs sung from year to year. Only after we had focused on Christ and had a time of fellowship, did we begin opening gifts. Because of this ritual and tradition, no one ever had to tell me that presents were of minimal importance at Christmas. It was implied in the way that my family revered God and put Him first. I was never confused about Santa Claus or any of the other secular things about Christmas because I was taught at an early age what Christmas was really about.
- I haven't spent Christmas Eve with my family since I've been married. Actually, that's not true. We spent Nathan's second Christmas in Louisiana, but I'm talking about just my mom, dad and siblings. Trevor's family opens gifts on Christmas Eve, so we always spend it with his family and then would spend Christmas Day with mine. I know that getting married involves sharing holidays and splitting time, but even after 10 years, I still can't get used to spending Christmas away from my family. It always feel a little empty and hollow when I am not able to participate in the traditions that I hold so dear.
- I would be remiss if I did not mention all of the glorious food that I associate with Christmas. I come from a family of cooks and the food is always homemade and wonderful! Seriously...I could eat at Christmas and then have enough calories stored away to hibernate for a few months.
So, needless to say I am stoked about Christmas this year! As always, it will be here before we know it...I actually bought a few gifts while I was out shopping today.
I've shared a few things that I associate with Christmas....now it's your turn. What are some traditions that your family had growing up? Have you developed any of your own since leaving home?