It's quiet. The last of the Christmas house guests left moments ago, and the house is still and serene. Well, except for the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix blaring through the surround sound in the living room.
But that sort of noise is normal in our house. The sound generated by eight adults and 3 small children is not, and although I was overjoyed to have the family here for Christmas and beyond, I am a little excited to have my house back in order. We have the weekend to get the kids back on schedule before work and school starts again.
My mom and dad arrived the Saturday evening before Christmas, and then my sister and her husband arrived Sunday night. My brother, his wife and my nephew flew in Monday morning from Virginia, and our numbers were complete. We attended the candlelight service at church Christmas Eve and we had the privilege to sing several carols as a family for the congregation.
When I was growing up, carolling was something we did as a family every year. My mom would spend weeks baking and making candy for the bags we would carry with us to each house and deliver after we sang a carol and then a chorus of We Wish You a Merry Christmas. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, our friends would eagerly inquire as to whether or not we would be carolling that year. I'm not entirely sure if they were looking forward to the four part harmony, or the tasty treats my mom prepared!
After the service, we reminisced with many of those families about the years of carolling and it was good to do it one more time. We are so seldom able to all be together at Christmas as we get older and it was especially sweet this year with the three cousins old enough to play together.
Christmas morning was wonderful with all of the kids excited about opening gifts and running around like little monkeys all morning. We had a very simple lunch of ham, chicken and cornbread dressing and broccoli and cauliflower with a cheese sauce. Easy to prepare and easy to clean up! Amber and David left right after lunch, because they both had to work the next day and had to get back to Louisiana, but Mama and Daddy stayed through Thursday. Patrick, Ronna and Benjamin were the last to leave today and it was a bittersweet day. I was looking forward to having the peace, quiet and order back, but at the same time dreading the time when they would leave us.
All in all a wonderful Christmas and one that we will remember for many years to come. There is nothing like being surrounded by family, especially when we are all believers and understand the miracle and necessity of the manger, as well as the cross. I praise and thank God for my family and for the love and support that they give me. My life is much sweeter with them in it.