Friday, December 24, 2010

'Twas two nights before ...

It's 2 a.m. and I can't sleep.

It's not that panicked oh my gosh we'll never get it all done and Christmas will be ruined kind of can't sleep. It's more of a dang, we still have a lot to do in the next 20 hours kind of can't sleep.

I woke up remembering that I hadn't gotten out the recipe for our Christmas morning breakfast casserole, hence the needed ingredients had not been added to the shopping list.

Oh yes, there is still shopping to do. Food shopping AND gift shopping. The majority of both, actually.

We're not crazy. Life has just been a little off lately. Between budget-sapping vehicle repairs and energy-sapping coughs and colds and my own emotional unrest concerning my aging grandmother, we've had some hurdles to jump over before we could get down to the business of preparing for Christmas.

The joy of Christmas, though, is it will come whether we have a tree or not (we do now, and we will decorate it tomorrow ... er, later today). Christmas will be here and we will celebrate Christ's birth whether we find two gifts for each child or 10 gifts, and whether we wrap them or not (ask me tomorrow morning at 2 a.m.).

We may think we can't find the time in our day for it, but Christmas will come, our world will be blessed, we will be forgiven and find salvation, and there will be peace. There's some comfort in knowing that while we busy ourselves with earthly things and expectations and sail along through our daily lives, God is preparing to wow us like He promised He would. Even if we become distracted from the true meaning of all of this, He most certainly does not.

Just this evening there were a few moments with my family that made me forget about all the Christmas preparations yet undone and gave me that little poke I needed to get things back in focus.

We had just returned from our second trip to town after racing back there to pick up my truck from the shop where we thought it had been repaired after being towed in by a wrecker. I was more than a little frustrated because the "repair" didn't quite repair things, and here we were at the end of the work day with a long holiday weekend ahead. Steve had picked up KFC for dinner so at least nobody had to cook. There was this moment when everybody stood in the kitchen filling their plates, then one by one we sat down at the dining room table together. There was no "hey guys, let's all sit down here" and certainly we could have migrated to the living room and plopped down in front of the television. But there we sat together as a family, making our game plan for the Christmas Eve shopping jaunt and watching the candles of our Advent wreath flicker.

Then we laughed together - once we got over the initial shock - as Patch The Kitty got up close and personal with the Christmas tree by climbing the trunk. Hellooooo, Griswolds.

And then after dinner everyone helped clean up and we started our annual cookie-baking extravaganza. A few years ago we started a tradition of passing out cookies (wicked good double chocolate peanut butter thumbprint cookies) to several neighbors on Christmas Eve. I love doing this as a family, and making these cookies only once a year gets everyone excited in anticipation. These are seriously good cookies. And we had a seriously good time as we worked assembly-line-style with Rachel and me mixing ingredients, Sam melting chocolate, and Steve supervising from the sidelines while sipping eggnog.

Kidding! Steve helped, too.

After all that, it was nice to chill out and watch a few minutes of TV with Steve, then settle in for a good rest. I set the alarm for early in the morning (but NOT 2 o'clock!) determined I would have a few minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee and a little reflection before starting the mad rush of the day.

I guess the universe had other plans for me.

At least I got some of the aftermath of the baking spree cleaned up. And I found the recipe for the Christmas morning casserole.

I should head back to bed and try to sleep, but I rather enjoy the peace and quiet of the house at this hour. I have a feeling it won't be this quiet again for a few days, and that's as it should be - we have so much to celebrate.

Merry Christmas.

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