What a beautiful Christmas - even with the miserable weather! Last night we went to church as is the tradition in our family. As I sat there and watched the small children play the nativity, looked into the faces of my family, and held the small candle in my hands I realized in that moment everything was perfect. Not my situation sure...but I have so many wonderful things that I can celebrate, it eases the sting of the other.
And I heard a message - a verse I had claimed a couple of weeks ago when I first was wrestling with what 2009 will bring. "For I know the plans I have for you...plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." As the minister delivered his message, he echoed this exact verse again to me. Those words have leap off the page to me twice now. I know in my heart that I do have a purpose and that I will find it.
Christmas eve dinner with the family was wonderful in its own chaos - the baby so sweet, the four-year-old GA so excited that her cheeks were blotched red, and the nephews thrilled with their new loot. The pitching in to prepare Santa for the girls after they went to bed...and the ride home with my handsome brother.
Waking up early after a late night - to see the nephews happy with presents. Playing Rock Band and singing really badly - the togetherness again my sister and brother as the boys went to their dad's. And making my first Christmas dinner ever. Funny how that is - in the past, mom always made Christmas dinner or reservations. Last year was spent in the dark hole of not eating at all when you miss someone so bad. This year, we could laugh and cry with good memories. So, the shrimp and grits were a bit soupy - it will be better next time.
And lighting candles graveside at dusk tonight after we could not do it on Christmas eve. It's a tradition we've done well, I guess since my brother died in 1975. I can barely remember when we didn't do it. Tonight - as my sister and I went alone to carry out the tradition, we wondered if it was time to stop. Technology has passed the paper bag luminaries by with battery operated candles. These days the number of paper bags out number the number of people lighting as too many people have passed on. And though I don't think of my loved ones in those graves - it is a good way to pause and remember them.
Of course, mom totally would have disapproved of watching Superbad on Christmas night. She would have found it disrespectful. But...she would have loved to have been surrounded with her children. Just like me I loved sitting and laughing with my family ... for me, Christmas was the best. And Santa brought me what I requested ... except for the job part, and I suspect it's just on another sleigh that is a bit slower to arrive.