Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve!

One of my favorite nights of the whole year is almost upon us! Christmas with my family has always been magical, full of love and warmth, spirit and laughter... And as I get older, I only treasure it more each and every year!

Today, I pick up the house, pack all the presents and goodies, plan surprises for the hubby, deliver tins of cookies to friends, celebrate with one of my church families, then go to my parents' house to share in the magic!

We will share our favorite appetizers (the ones so bad for you, you only eat them once a year!); the candles will all be lit; a fire in the fireplace; Mom will have the house decorated to be a Christmas wonderland; and Dad will have a candle lit in the window for loved ones who can't be with us! We will open gifts tonight - one at a time, so we can all oooo and ahhh - thank yous will be said and hugs shared. Then it will be off to the church I grew up in for a candlelight service.
"Santa" will visit the neighbor kids as he visited us every year. Dressed in his red suit, beard white as snow, and a pack of toys slung on his back! (We saw Santa every year growing up - I don't know how we got so lucky! We'd sneak up on him stuffing our stockings... or see him running down our street with his LONG list dragging in the snow... once we even set up a camera with a trip-wire to get a photo!) Santa has always brought the magic and wonder to our house - laughter and mystery, and a sense of generosity in the spirit of the season. Now we get to help him visit the neighbors' kids and grandkids. So fun!
Dad may even share one of his original Christmas stories with us. Often, he will spend lots of time in his office shortly before Christmas... Writing and re-writing a special Christmas tale to be told on Christmas Eve by candlelight. It may be about a young shepherd boy, a special Christmas gift, a walk through Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, or stories of his own adventures through life that have brought him to believe so strongly in what Christmas is all about...

We will go to bed stuffed with goodies, content and peaceful, exhausted and thankful - only to wake to filled stockings and warm coffee! Tomorrow is just as much a celebration as today - just a little more low-key. A day to rest and enjoy the blessings that surround us - the joy of Jesus' birth and the new life that is shared with each one of us!

My 5 things I'm thankful for today:
1. Sunshine and beautiful snow-lined streets!
2. Gifts wrapped and under the tree - no procrastination this year!
3. My sisters - both of which are treasured friends (I will dearly miss Emily's presence at the house tonight as she celebrates with her own small family in Pittsburgh for the first time...)
4. My parents - and all that they have taught us about celebrating such a special holiday! The memories and traditions will live on forever!
5. Christmas music - I've been listening since the middle of November... and am still not sick of it! LOL I realized yesterday that my ipod currently has 12 hours of Christmas music on it! Whoa!

May the peace - and laughter and joy - of the season surround you tonight!

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