Christmas is a magical time, isn't it?
This year was especially so.
I decided to cross most of my projects off my list since there was no hope of getting any of them done, and I was only causing myself more stress then it was worth.
Possibly the best decision I made this season.
I decided, instead, to enjoy the season.
Jeffrey and I had decided to not get each other anything as we are hoping to buy a house this year.
But I know him. I know that he would never let me have a Christmas with nothing to open. He is just that sweet. In anticipation of him ignoring our pact, I sneakily bought him a game and a book.
Christmas eve was magical and snowy and beautiful.
As is the custom, we spent the morning in pajamas enjoying one another's company. Cheese sandwiches for lunch. We really just wanted it to be simple. That evening we were going to my parents house for the annual Christmas Eve dinner my mother always does.
We got to my mom's house, the kids and I did (Jeffrey stayed home trying to finish a castle he was building for Faye) and my brother was there. It was wonderful to see him. I get to see him maybe four times a year, so it was wonderful that he and his family were there. My kids and his are close in age, and always love playing together.
We sat down for dinner and the lights were turned off. No Jerusalem Supper is complete without candles.
We enjoyed the traditional grape/lime juice. Just like Grandma used to make. That was to be like the wine drunk in ancient Jerusalem. There were dates and figs and olives and carrots. Roast Chicken and zucchini casserole (we aren't always completely authentic), and then the cheese and crackers. To be like the unleavened bread eaten by the Jews. Except the cheese was baked brie and so so yummy! (Thanks Emily for the recipe.) This was to be a dinner such as Mary and Joseph would have had that sacred night so long ago. Although ours was most likely more extravagant than theirs (zucchini casserole is not exactly authentic, I think).
We sat in the candle light and talked about our traditions, and that special night. The crystal from the glasses sparkled and the juice therein shone like rubies. The lights from my mother's Christmas tree cast a soft glow on everything, contributing to the luminesence of the candles. There was laughter, as there always is when we get together, and the feeling of warmth and joy was nearly tangible. Because that family. Tangible love and happiness and laughter and joy. Despite struggles and trials, family is tangible love.
Afterwards the little kids put on the nativity while my father read Luke 2, and we sang hymns appropriately. I love that I come from such a musical family. Everyone sings and plays an instrument. My little brother plays 6 instruments!
As it was late, we said goodnight to my family, and the kids and I got into the van and drove home through the snow. We listened to Christmas music, and Faye talked non-stop about Santa Clause. She talked about wanting to stay up to see him on the roof, and to play with the reindeer, and to leave him cookies and milk.
We got home, and Jeffrey lit a fire in the fireplace, then we gathered around, read the Grinch Who Stole Christmas and talked about what Christmas really is. The kids drank cocoa, and we talked about why Christmas is so special with our nativity scene. We then took the kids down to bed and tucked them in.
Jeffrey and I sat in front of the slowly dying fire and finished wrapping the gifts and stuffing the stockings. And then we just cuddled.
It was so romantic, I thought.
Just the two of us, in front of the undulating hypnotic light of the log licking flames, the snow noiselessly falling outside the window, and us snuggled together on the couch, not speaking, just happy. Happy that we have such a beautiful family, and that we are together. Happy that we had succeeded in making this season magical not only for the children, but also for us. Happy that we are so blessed with health, and family, and all of our basic needs being met.
When there was nothing left but embers, Jeffrey and I decided to get things set out, and then to head to bed ourselves. It was going to be a busy day, and we would have to get up early.
For isn't it mandatory for little ones to wake up early on Christmas Day?