Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Silver Lining

One week ago on Christmas Eve, the snow was falling, the weather predictions were worse and we wondered what would happen. Now looking back, I can see that this was one of the most enjoyable Christmas celebrations in many years.

My in-laws were going to host Christmas dinner on Christmas day and at least three of the four children, plus their families, who live near enough were to converge on the farm for the feast that afternoon. But due to the weather predictions, Grandma decided to post-pone the feast till Sunday.

So Christmas Eve day found my husband busy at work preparing for the two evening services, my children trying to contain their excitement and not get into trouble, and me preparing meals, enjoying the snowfall, and anticipating a wonderful evening.

We began the day with a special breakfast of Overnight French Toast and sausage links before we went to Matins, the short, spoken service offered each Tuesday through Saturday at the church. Afterwards the children and I came home and shoveled some of the 8-10 inches of snow which had fallen. It was warm, sunny, and bright, which helped make shoveling to seem more of a pleasure than a burden.

Our dinner was a family favorite, Chicken with a Biscuit. It is a creamy chicken mixture (cubed chicken, peas, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, seasonings) boiled together and put into a baking dish with biscuits on top and then baked. I even made enough extra biscuits for the kids to have some on the side with jelly.

The afternoon found my husband still at work, the kids playing in the snow, and doing some extra cleaning for misbehavior, Hannah and Ellie practicing piano, flute, and violin in anticipation of playing in the services that evening. Finally the time came for showers, supper of Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with crackers and cheese, and dressing in our Christmas outfits for the 7 pm service of Lessons and Carols.
After the service, which was attended by fewer people than previous years due to the snow (we kept getting more all day), we came home to find that Santa had indeed made it through with his trusty sleigh and left two presents for the children. David set up the video camera while I got my camera ready and also put the goodies on the table for nibbling, and the children sat (?) patiently (?) awaiting the time to open presents.

After opening we enjoyed each other's company and our new things for awhile before David and the two oldest went back to church to prepare for the midnight mass. At home, I picked up all the wrapping paper, put away the food and set the table for Christmas morning's breakfast while the three youngest continued playing with their new Christmas toys. As the 11:00pm start time drew near, the youngest three and I went over to attend worship (I really love living next door to the church). Afterwards, while I helped with altar guild duties, the youngest children came home for bed. It is always hard to sleep, I think, on Christmas Eve. The adrenaline from the evening, the basking in the birth of the Christ Child, the pondering of this baby whose body and blood were given and shed for me make for a night that does not want to end.

But alas it did and after only a few short hours we arose, ate a delicious breakfast of cinnamon rolls (of course they were homemade) before once again attending the 9:00 am worship hearing the wonderful news that Christ is Born!

We came home and while dinner was cooking (pork chops in the slow cooker, baked potatoes, corn, and homemade buns), David put together the Egyptian Pyramid that Nathan, Abby, and Sam received from Santa. It was finished and they could play for a bit before we ate our wonderful meal. Afterwards, while the children cleaned the kitchen, David and I took a nice, long, nap. Upon waking two hours later, we played the game Colosseum which Hannah and Ellie received from Santa (Santa must have known what we are studying in history this year). That is a very fun game! Suppertime was near and we had our standard Sunday evening meal of popcorn, apples, sausage, cheese, and crackers while watching the second disk of The Two Towers.

Speed forward to Sunday where once again we worshipped the New Born King and afterwards went to the farm to spend two nights with Grandpa and Grandma. David was able to put together their new shelves they purchased for each other for a Christmas gift and also set up the new flat-screen tv David, his sister and brothers (plus their families) gave to them.

Even though this Christmas didn't turn out as we had originally planned, and the kids were disappointed that none of the cousins ended up making it to Grandpa and Grandma's, we had a very nice time. The relaxing Christmas day at home, the added joy of spending a few days relaxing at Grandpa and Grandma's (which was a last minute plan due to the weather) really made this Christmas one to remember.

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