It was evening.
The evening of Jesus' birthday and our Christmas celebration.
I sat at the table shelling Pistachio nuts for a little boy who'd asked so nice.
My heart was full, and my mind spun gratitude and thanks to the Lord for His most
beautiful gifts. I never can wrap my mind around a Love that would suffer humanity
by choice, and torture and death - for love of me.
Add to that a life splashing over with the abundance of all earthly good things...
"Gods Extravagance" I once heard it called.
All the extras - so many of them never seen or fully appreciated - He gives them just because.
While I sat, my fingers working and senses taking in the cheery afterglow, I recounted to
myself the events of the day. Some moments had been so strangely hard to absorb,
others common; certainly too mundane for a celebration that comes only once a year!
Earlier our conversation had trickled in the direction of what made our family's traditions.
Each had their own favorites of course, but ironically in the time our children have been of
ages to remember our Christmases, we've spent 6 of them in 4 different places.
Some without stockings, some without Christmas Shrimp, some with lots of extended family,
some Christmases with no one but us.
It dawned on me; one day these guys will look backward on our many different Christmas
celebrations, and our few constant traditions and what will be the most prevalent theme
was that we were together.
I bet one day, that will be the tradition they remember most.
I know what they don't:
that won't always be.
Without letting my mind veer off course to what possible futures may come to exist,
this knowledge alone - that we were together for this Christmas - I let linger on my
heart. And linger, and linger, and linger long there, establishing firmly my gratefulness.
These truths are almost too sweet to bear.
I thank Him - my God of extravagant gifts!
The stockings, filled to overflowing and placed neatly on the couches the night before
had been discovered in the glow of morning light. Each item removed, inspected,
and approved in a chorus of grateful cheers and sing-song thank yous.
There wasn't really much mayhem since there hadn't been any paper, so all that covered the
expanse of floor was bits of stocking loot - paper airplanes, lolly pops, stickers, a kazoo...
My own stocking (unable to hold a laptop computer, had been quietly removed with all the
others and placed in a corner.
Alas, it was not empty as I had expected!
Two lovely daughters growing more thoughtful with every inch acquired, placed some dear
sweet handmade gifts within. Felt, and bead ornaments, hand woven coasters... the very
best of surprises.
It is always a favorite pleasure of mine to watch what trinkets get carried under arm like
priceless treasure (A new stuffed animal friend? Candy Canes? A Coconut?), and which
small gifts are relegated to lower position on the list of importance and are lost in the couch
cushions or under crumpled tissue paper.
A 50-cent kazoo makes the cut? A jar of pickles? ...Really?
Late breakfast (for which no one is actually hungry) commences, and after that more
candy allowed (I always think we are going so light on the candy, but I am always
We pour pistachios out in a bowl, and open up bottles of Martinelli's sparkling apple
cider to sip. In the afternoon we slice french bread, and cut up sharp cheese, put out
grapes and veggies and the Christmas Rainmaker Shrimp with cocktail sauce.
Not everyone likes everything set out, but everyone finds something they like :-)
Some new games given trial, babies napped, mom and dad put feet up.
Christmas is a peaceful time in our home, in this season. We are together with all the little
ones still little and easy to gather. Once again it was a holiday to cherish.
To ponder up in my heart for recollection as different seasons come and go; as
different traditions make the cut, new people enter our family, and for remembering when
some of our loved can't be with us.
His extravagance overwhelms.
Praise to His name!