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Christmas Eve is pretty quiet at our house. We’ve been celebrating in various ways all month long.
SIL - our Son-In-Love graduated from seminary 11 days ago. The graduation was fairly close to where HH’s mother lives. Rather than fight the holiday traffic and make two long trips so close together, we decided to have Christmas with his mother a little early.
Giving gifts at Christmas has its roots in two places in the Bible. First, God’s incredible gift to us when he “gave his only Son”* Second, the wise men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus ** Gift giving can easily get out of hand, with the stress of thinking of a clever idea plus the pressure to spend too much.
HH’s family has grown pretty big, and buying gifts for everyone had become complicated. Some people stopped giving last year, and I thought they had a good idea. I sent an email saying we would be giving extended family gifts to those over 90 and those under 18. We have five great nieces. Buying gifts for them was a delight. Then I found a beautiful bird house that I knew HH’s mom would enjoy outside her window. When she mentioned another item that she really needed to replace, that side of the family Christmas shopping was complete.
Because this was a December graduation ceremony, the seminary used Christmas songs with double meanings. Joy to the World - for instance. I know that SIL was full of JOY not only for the birth of Christ but for the end of finals. The graduates marched out of the ceremony to the Hallelujah Chorus - again appropriate in several ways. It was a moving ceremony - watching these young men and women who have committed their lives to proclaiming the message of Christ at home and around the world.
Our Strong Son had to work on Friday, but he joined us at his grandmother’s house on Saturday. We had a happy visit, opening family gifts, and telling stories. HH’s mom’s memory is failing, but there is a certain joy to telling and retelling and retelling a happy story. Her delight was so real each time we told it again.
There were times, both in my health food days and in my early BTD days, when I worried about eating things at holidays that were not optimum for my health. Those days are now over. HH’s mom pulled out her credit card and sent us to the cafeteria to buy Christmas dinner. I could pick anything I wanted, and I chose wisely from a BTD standpoint. But I’ll admit there was a little sadness that the old days are gone. Perhaps if you are chafing under pressure to eat something on your avoid list this year at Christmas, you can project yourself forward a few years to a time when loving hands will no longer be able to prepare traditional food. Life is short...enjoy the holiday. You can return to healthy eating on December 26.
HH and I returned home for four days, then were off again. SIL has been called to a church in Texas near the beach. They asked if we would come and help them move in. We spent three days helping to install shelf paper and unload boxes. DD’s friends at her office had given her a baby shower. What fun it was to put the little clothes in the new nursery and imagine that next year at Christmas BC will be nine months old.
DD and SIL returned to North Texas for DD to finish out her last week at work. They will be spending Christmas Day with SIL’s family.
SS is coming home tonight after the Christmas Eve service at his church. I’ll be fixing a traditional South Texas Christmas dinner with a BTD touch.
The birth of the Christ Child was a miracle. That is why we celebrate Christmas. But in its own way every baby is a miracle. DD tells me that this week BC can taste and smell. Imagine that. Still three months from birth and BC’s senses are developing. Next year BC will be outside the womb, enjoying the taste and smell Christmas dinner, seeing the lights, and hearing for the first time, the story of Jesus and his birthday.
* For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17
** After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:1, 2, 11
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