Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Still Cherishing Christmas

Did you have a Merry Christmas?  Oh I hope so!  Our family most certainly did.  Doing this Cherish Christmas Quest has been an amazingly rewarding experience for me.  I'm so thankful I took this adventure.  And it's not even over yet, as I have a few more days of December to cherish this favorite holiday!
 
We enjoyed beautiful family time together these past few days.  Although I have not marked anything new off my list, I have cherished Christmas from morning until night each day.
 
Christmas Eve
Traditionally Mom and Dad have celebrated Christmas with us kids on Christmas Eve.  Most years growing up we enjoyed Christmas morning with Grandma and Grandpa.  They have gone on to their reward in Heaven, but we continue to do Christmas with Mom and Dad on Christmas Eve. 
 
Our little family hasn't always lived close enough to celebrate Christmas with the extended family in person, but as I mentioned before, those years we would still mail gifts and share Christmas over the phone.  Thankfully this year, we were able to literally travel over a river and through the woods to Mom and Dad's house for Christmas. 
 
Sis, Younger Brother, and Youngest Brother, along with their families joined us there.  I know it meant a lot to Mom and Dad to have everyone there!  We gathered around the kitchen table and enjoyed some of our favorite Christmas Eve foods, then moved on to the living room where packages were stacked under the Christmas tree.
 
Once we all quieted down, Dad opened Grandma's much loved Bible, and read the Christmas story to us.  It was, as always, a special family moment.
 
The rest of the evening was filled with much laughter, awe, and even a few tears as we unwrapped the gifts so carefully chosen for each other.  I liked everything I opened, but I have to admit, one gift was most touching.  Youngest Brother made (for each of us) a beautiful picture frame out of Grandpa Farmer & Grandma Teacher's old red barn.  The barn stood on the family farm long before me, but was finally torn down a few years ago. 
 
I love - with all my heart - that a piece of family history now hangs in our home framing a photo of my entire family.  The photo, taken at Mom and Dad's farm last summer, captures all of us just yards away from where that old red barn stood. 
 
Since the festivities of Christmas Eve lasted into the night, we stayed overnight at Mom and Dad's.  Younger Brother and Wife, who live even a little further north than we do, also stayed the night.  Sis and Youngest Brother live nearby, so they bundled up their families and headed home for their own Christmas celebrations the next day.  With hugs and well wishes all around another family Christmas was enjoyed by all.  As I climbed into bed, my heart was full.  I cherished Christmas Eve.
 
Christmas Morning
We awoke the next morning to bags of goodies from Santa under the tree.  There was more laughter and fun as we opened our little gifts.  After a big country breakfast of pancakes, bacon, biscuits, and gravy, it was time to load up and head back to our home.
 
We had been hearing for several days about a big snow storm heading our way and we wanted to get home and settled in before the blizzard hit.  We arrived home safely without seeing a flake of snow.  After unloading, the four of us spent the evening watching movies and munching on Christmas goodies. 

At the end of the night, we took in my favorite Christmas movie: The Nativity Story.  It is, by far, my favorite and was the perfect ending to Christmas Day.  We all four sat there quietly taking in this beautiful portrayal of this most important story.  I am blessed to my core that my teenage sons love this movie as I do.  If you have never seen it, I highly recommend it.  It touches me deeply every time I watch it. 

I definitely cherished this entire day.
 
As we headed to bed, we checked outside, and there was still no sign of snow...
 
The Day After Christmas
Today we slept in, and when we checked outside, we were disappointed to find that we did not get any snow for Christmas.  Mom reported they ended up with several inches, but our area was missed by the storm.  We decided to stay in our jammies and pretend we were snowed in even though we were not. 
 
I filled the slow cooker with Chicken and Dumplings, and settled into my Hug Chair for a "goof off" day.  We didn't do anything exciting, but we did enjoy some wonderful family time filled with laughter.  We watched the Grinch movie and now all the guys are gaming together while I write this.  The house is quiet, the Christmas lights on the Christmas tree are glowing and my guys are laughing and teasing each other as they enjoy a new game.  I just don't think I could cherish this more.

Merry Christmas!

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