Well, it's just 5 or 6 days until Christmas - depending on when you start celebrating. We do a lot of Christmas Eve stuff so I tend to count both days. Our family's tradition goes something like this. On Christmas Eve I want to get to my Grandmother's (mom's mom) as early in the day as possible to help with the baking and cooking and eating and to visit. My parents live in Texas so any time they're here I like to spend a lot of time visiting:) We almost always have last minute stuff to do though and don't get to Dublin (an hour's drive) until about 4pm. Everyone gathers at Grandma's house by about 6 and we have snacks and goodies until the little kids can wait no longer to open presents. Isn't it odd that I remember so well when I was one of those kids jumping up and down, but now I prefer the snacks and visiting? We all exchange presents with the teenagers usually being "Santa" and passing them out. It's becoming somewhat chaotic as our family grows, but usually everyone is pretty polite. Then we move back to the kitchen for my grandparent's anniversary toast. They've been married for 51 years on Christmas Eve this year! These two are so inspirational to us because they are *not* one of those perfect couples. My grandfather was just saved within the last few years (PTL!), they were a military couple, they suffered a lot of loss, and they can just both be hard to get along with:) On their anniversary last year, we watched them have a big argument about the crossword puzzle! But they've managed to genuinely love each other for better than 50 years:)
Anyway...I got side-tracked. After Grandma's, it's off to Granny's (dad's mom) where people stop in to visit all evening and a wonderful chaos reigns. We usually don't get everyone settled down enough to open gifts until pretty late - 10 or 11 at least. So by the time we leave there and drive home, we're looking at midnight to get home.
Christmas Day starts with more presents and breakfast for the four of us. Then church! We're really excited about being able to worship with our church family this year on Christmas Day. Then over to my sister-in-law's house for a big Christmas dinner and, that's right, more presents. Then we drive home for a nice quiet supper and reading the Christmas story again before bed.
There are lots of little events this week, too, before Christmas. My Ladies' Fellowship meeting/party, Levi's Kid's Club party, church Wednesday night, my parents and sister getting into town, it's my week to clean the church, groceries have to be bought, etc.... So how am I going to maintain my commitment to a tranquil Christmas? What's really helped so far is extra alone time with my Father. Even though I don't technically have time when there is so much else to do, spending extra time in the Word and in prayer has been so wonderful this month. I can't even count the number of times I've been drawn back to focus on Christ, not parties, on Christ, not food, on Christ, not presents. So this week, when I know the "one more gift" and "I hate to miss" thoughts will start popping up with more intensity, I'm counting on time with my Savior to remind me about what's really important. I can't wait!