Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas

"Merry Christmas" --  It's a standard greeting among Christians this time of year.  I'm not a believer in being politically correct -- I tell everyone Merry Christmas.  It's a heartfelt greeting from me to you.  I would certainly not be offended by a greeting of your religion.  I would warmly accept it and thank you.

We exchange not only greetings with our friends and family, but gifts as well.  We share God's greatest gift of all -- He sent Jesus into the world.  We exchange gifts with one another in recognition of Jesus' birth.  God's love is endless - and so is the wrapping paper on the floor after our gift exchanges.

My family, like many others has grown to the point that we have multiple family celebrations and many directions to go during the holidays.  It's often difficult to manage, but somehow we find a way.  Most of us were at my sister's home in Jefferson City, MO to celebrate.  Poor Kim, she cleaned her house (and it looked great when we all got there) just so we could totally destroy it with wrapping paper, fingerprints, bedding and suitcases.  She was certainly a good sport about it!  We have become quite a large group when we're together.  It was a great time for everyone.  Thank you, Kim and Tim for letting us invade your normally quiet home.

We traveled home tonight.  I have to say we were ready to be home.  Everyone was tired.  But . . . our hearts were full of love.  Being with family recharges us.  We are reminded of the things that are really important in life.  What is more important than spending time with the "House That Built Me"?  I know, that's a country song; but think about it.  When we spend time with our family members, no matter where we are, we are spending time in the house that built us.  We are reminded of the parts of our childhood that made us  the people we are today.

I love my family -- we're a neurotic bunch, but we're great!  I challenge any family to have more laughter in a room than we find.  We are a hugely opinionated bunch -- and we often disagree, but love conquers opinions.  We have fun at one another's expense, but in the end we stick together.  Blood is indeed thicker than water.  Family comes first.

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Plans 2012

From Thanksgiving to Christmas is a blur every year.  There is just so much to do.  There are decorations to put up, goodies to bake, gifts to buy and wrap, cards to write, meals and events to plan, and a house to keep clean for the expected and unexpected guests.  Add that to our normal everyday schedules of work and watching kids and it's no wonder sanity is lacking during December.

Years ago as our family grew older and there were multiple family events to attend, my family decided that we would leave Thanksgiving Day to celebrate with the other side of the family.  We plan our Thanksgiving meal for the Friday evening after Thanksgiving.  Most of us have to travel, so it gives us Friday to make the trip and then we have the weekend to spend together and then travel back home again.

Christmas for our family is celebrated together on Christmas Eve.  This is a tradition that's rich with family history.  My grandfather's birthday was Christmas Eve, and as a child I remember so many family Christmases with all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, parents, sister and brother.  We were part of a very large family and there were so many of us, but those were special times.  We would go to church Christmas Eve -- Grandpa Mohr was a Lutheran pastor.  Oh, how I loved the Christmas hymns!  I still do.  My mom sang "Oh Holy Night" during the service and she would always bring tears to my grandpa's eyes.  He loved to hear her sing.  And our family has a special connection to "Silent Night, Holy Night".  That beautiful song was written by Joseph Mohr, my great-great-great-great-great uncle.  After church we'd all go back to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  We kids had to stay upstairs while Santa Claus came to deliver gifts and talk with our parents and grandparents.  (Of course, we kids could hear everything -- the anticipation was almost unbearable!)  Then . . . it was finally time to read the Christmas story from the Bible and then open gifts.  Christmas Eve will forever be the time that our family will celebrate Christmas together.

Having firm dates set allows us to plan for the holidays easily.  This year, Christmas Day is on a Tuesday which makes travel more difficult.  We'll travel Christmas Eve after work -- hoping everyone arrives by 8 or 9 pm for our gift exchange.  I can hardly wait to see Liam open his gifts this year -- he is at such a cute age!   We'll have Christmas Day to spend together before driving home that night so everyone can be back to school and work on the 26th.

I plan to fix a big dinner at home to celebrate with Eddie's mom and the kids at home.  We still need to schedule a day that will work for her.  A couple of Luke's friends and Eddie's friends have asked when they can come over for Christmas dinner too.  (I just love that they love to come over to eat!)  The more the merrier!  I have a bad habit of making way too much.  I'm seriously considering the same menu as our Thanksgiving dinner.  It was so good this year!  Now, we just have to plan the date.

Sending wishes for a sane and very Merry Christmas to all of you!