There are not a ton of differences between how our families celebrate Christmas - mine and Mike's. But one difference I enjoyed this year was presents on Christmas Eve! As you have seen from previous posts, we enjoyed a relaxing Eve day with lots of cooking and a trip to the Botanical Garden. Below we were just coming home from Christmas Eve worship at our church. Olivia almost made it through the whole service. The fact that everyone around her had lit candles didn't hurt in the attention department. Mike's family grew up going to the 11:00 p.m. Christmas Eve service and then they still came home and opened presents! (Or maybe they opened them before...?) Either way, I am positive they were up later than my family ever was. Those McBrides burn the midnight oil for sure. Mike's mom says that, since her dad worked on the railroad, they opened presents whatever time he got home - which could have been 3:00 a.m. I never met Mike's grandma, but these next two pictures of Trish look just like every picture I have seen of her mother. It is the eyes and the smile.
I think Olivia must be an even mix of Mike and me. While she did manage to stay up past 10:00, she was practically mute by the time we put her to bed. She just got quieter and quieter as the evening went on. But she never had a melt down and really tarried on each gift. She seemed to enjoy helping others with their gifts as much as her own.
We finished opening the adult gifts after Olivia went to bed and convened again the next morning to finish with the kids. I LOVED dragging out the gift opening across two days. Partially because it made it last longer - I do love presents. But also because it seemed to keep the focus on the fact that we were together. We could have been doing anything (I am glad we were opening presents :) ), but it could have been anything. What made it meaningful was that we were doing it together. That is also what made it hard - because you knew who wasn't there.
I want to remain flexible - to remember that our tradition may just be in the being together and not necessarily doing things the same way every year. I want our children to know what is really important (even more than being together) - and not in the gimicky Jesus is the reason for the season sort of way - but in the overwhelming, lump in your throat, inexplicable, get quieter and quieter as the night goes on until there is nothing left to say except to just be in it - sort of way.
"Don't try to explain the Incarnation to me. It is further from being explainable than the furthest galaxy. It is love, God's limitless love enfleshing that love into the form of a human being, Jesus, the Christ, fully human and fully divine. Was there a moment, known only to God, when the galaxies paused in their dance for a fraction of a second, and the Word, who had called it all into being, went with all his love into the womb of a young girl, and the universe started to breathe again, and the ancient harmonies resumed their song, and the angels clapped their hands for joy? Power. Greater power than we can imagine, abandoned, as the Word knew the powerlessness of the unborn child, still unformed, taking up almost no space in the great ocean of amniotic fluid, unseeing,unhearing, unknowing. Slowly growing, as any human embryo grows, arms and legs and a head, eyes, mouth, nose, slowly swimming into life until the ocean in the womb is no longer large enough, and it is time for birth. Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, Christ, the Maker of the universe or perhaps many universes, willingly and lovingly leaving all that power and coming to this poor, sin-filled planet to live with us for a few years to show us what we ought to be and could be. Christ came to us as Jesus of Nazareth, wholly human and wholly divine, to show us what it means to be made in God's image."~ Madeliene L'Engle~
(Thanks Linda Green for the reminder -beinggreen5.blogspot.com)
The McBride Christmas moved from Kalamazoo to St. Louis this year, minus my dad who ended up having to work the morning of Christmas Eve. We missed you dad!
The location was different, but the gift exchange was about the same. Mom handed out most of the gifts. And there was just enough time to see what everyone else got... if you didn't blink. This is the only video we took with the digital camera, and I have to say I didn't even notice Doug's dual low five until I watched the video.
Onion-Mustard Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Roasted Sweet Potatoe Salad with Warm Chutney Dressing (Veerman, you are going to want this recipe.)
Festive Pineapple-Cranberry Salad
Traditional (nice-n-fatty) Green Bean Casserole
Warmed Dinner Rolls
Yum, yum and Merry Christmas!
If you look in the back, almost behind the trees, you will see Doug and Trish on the train scavenger hunt.
We told Olivia to hold on to Joseph so he wouldn't fall over. It looks like she's going for a right side up power driver. (It's the next generation of Junkyard Dog and The Ultimate Warrior.)
Thanks, GT, for the Christmas pj's. They are a perfect fit.
You can't see her favorite one - the gingerbread man - who, sadly enough, looks much better than the cookies we made a few weeks ago.
Olivia's first meal? No.
First meal in boots? No.
First meal in pajamas? No.
First meal with friend's birthday hat wrapped around nose? Sure.