Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Yup! That's me today! Locked myself in my bedroom this morning to do some last minute wrapping and am just finishing a batch of chocolate truffles right now! I think I have all the right size batteries for everything that will need batteries in the morning. The clothes are laid out for the Christmas Eve service at church tonight and the "Cookies for Santa" platter is washed and ready! Ricky, our Elf on the Shelf brought a letter to the kids this morning telling them to remember that Jesus is the real gift of the Christmas season and bidding them farewell until next November. It's always a little sad to tell him goodbye!
Our plans are as follows...this evening we will have our traditional Christmas Eve dinner at my parents' house before we all go to church together for the candlelight service. My favorite part of the Christmas season is singing "Silent Night" by candlelight with my family and church family! Everyone leaves quietly and everything seems so magical! We will then drive home, change into pajamas and daddy will read the story of the birth of Jesus from the Bible and he will also read, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  We will leave cookies and milk out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. HOPEFULLY, everyone will go to bed willingly and fall asleep quickly! Then I will get busy with all the Santa details. Ryan and I will probably enjoy a glass of wine and then exchange our stockings we have in our bedroom. Just the two of us. Ryan will also have "The Christmas Story" going on TV at least one time through  before we go to bed tonight! I pray that every child stays in his or her own bed tonight and that we do not begin the excitement until daylight! Fingers crossed! Hmmm.....it'll be a Christmas miracle if this happens! Tomorrow we will enjoy Christmas day at home together - just the 5 of us! I love that we do not have to load up and go anywhere tomorrow! That in itself is a gift!  Thursday morning we will go to my parents' house to have a Christmas brunch and gifts with my sisters and their families and my parents! (We already had Christmas with Ryan's family!)
Our menu for tomorrow is very simple (and easy on mama!) We will just snack all day with no formal meal. The goodies are not items I often serve, so they will be a treat! We will have a cinnamon pastry, meatballs in the crock pot, cracker and cheese platter, shrimp, pizza rolls, mozzarella sticks, ham rolls (daddy's favorite), jalapeno poppers, fruit, peppermint stick ice cream, sparkling grape juice, orange juice, and chocolate milk! Of course, we will continue to pick away at the Christmas cookie platter that has been parked on the counter - filled and repeatedly refilled the last few days! We have a formal dinner for Christmas Eve and then again with my parents at brunch the day after Christmas so I let myself off the hook on Christmas day and let my family lounge around in pajamas snacking and enjoying their new games, toys and movies!
Even though I'm elbow deep in my "to do" list today, I can't help but reflect on all the blessings we have. Today I am so thankful for electricity and heat. After a pretty amazing ice storm this last Sunday, we have so many friends, family, and neighbors who are still waiting for power again. I don't know how we lucked out, but we never lost power and have continued to enjoy the warmth and comfort of our home and all its' conveniences while others are waiting for help. The simple pleasures! I am also thankful for cupboards, refrigerator, and a deep-freeze filled with food! Enough food to easily last us two weeks! Tucked in here in our own real-life version of the movie, Frozen, we have everything we need. Everyone is safe, healthy, and happy. We have heat and food and thanks to my dad's hard work, we have a new roof over our heads! The kids will have a very Merry Christmas with lots of surprises from Santa and mama and daddy. (Thankful for good jobs too!) We are all healthy. I know so many people who are struggling with serious illnesses right now, and to have a healthy family is certainly one of the greatest blessings we could hope for! We are incredibly blessed.
I found this prayer written by Robert Louis Stevenson that I thought I'd share with you today...
Loving God, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

God's Blessings to you this Christmas!

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