It didn't feel like Christmas.
Not with all the cookie baking.
Or the present wrapping.
Or the holiday planning.
Or the wall of Christmas cards.
Not until Christmas Eve service did it "feel" like Christmas.
Now, obviously, it doesn't need to "feel" like Christmas to be Christmas.
To celebrate the greatest gift we could ever be given.
No, for that celebration, I was totally in the mood.
More than I ever have been.
The Christmas "story" became real to me.
But with no snow and the sneak attack that December seemed to make, it just didn't "feel" like Christmas.
Then the service came.
I felt totally involved.
Which was an awesome feeling.
To be needed.
The first special on the program was Michaela's piano debut.
A duet of Silent Night with moi.
She did wonderfully.
I was so proud. so thrilled for her.
Can you tell?
Right after Michaela's song, the teens took the stage.
They presented a responsive reading.
A beautiful, worshipful compilation of Scripture depicting the Truth of Christ joining human kind.
I had encouraged them to be expressive.
To draw in the listeners.
Show the adults how great they (these teens) really are.
They far exceeded our expectations.
They were fantastic!!
I was beaming with pride.
"Those are my kids," I thought.
:::a few church kids. quite anxious to join youth group, I think. :D::
xavier. david. christian. kylie.
::[a few of] our teens::
Brittany. Michaela. Brittany. Chris. Chris. Rob.
::the teens' responsive reading::
Following the teens presentation, I ran to the back of the sanctuary.
Sheena and I entered to the music of "O Holy Night."
It was thrilling to have someone to sing with.
What a great feeling.
One I haven't had since college.
Many people encouraged us to keep up the duets.
I think we will. :)
And sometime in between all the running hither and thither, the congregation joined in song.
Christmas song, that is.
And I realized I was sitting in my pew.
Not at the piano.
And I didn't have my music.
What was I doing???!!
I ran out of the sanctuary to find my music.
Ran back to the piano.
And joined in with the keyboard.
Where had my mind gone?
Pastor Dale shared a fantastic message.
A reminder of WHO our Jesus is.
The baby in a manger.
We closed with a candlelight singing of Silent Night.
Always my favorite part.
Kevin and I eagerly returned home.
We started a late dinner.
The second year of our tradition.
Kevin's secret ingredient Alfredo sauce.
I cooked up pasta and seasoned chicken.
It was great to work side by side.
And enjoy our meal beside the tree.
Beside one another.
Then we opened presents!
Yes, I let him have it 'his' way this year.
We had such a wonderful time.
Enjoying one another's thoughtfulness.
Thanks, Babe, for a great Christmas.
The next morning we awoke early.
But hit snooze for an hour.
It was glorious.
The rain deterred our original plans.
Kevin had promised to go on a Christmas morning run.
But he gave me a rain check for that.
I worked out with Jillian then we hit the road.
By 10:30am we had joined Kevin's family--parents, brother, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins at Grandparents' home.
We had a fantastic time together.
I had such great conversations with each of them.
We played an American Trivia game.
Opened great gifts.
Exchanged White Elephant presents.
Ate many foods of deliciousness.
And enjoyed the warmth of the fire.
::Brothers: Brian & Kevin::
And Elise expressing her feelings.
::cousins: Elise & Kevin::
::the boys anxiously awaiting gift opening::
Kevin. Brian. David. Grandpa.
::Uncle Larry. Aunt Ruth. Dad. Mom::
::my side of the room::
::Grandma and Grandpa::
The sleepy time was spent at Mom & Dad's and we were soon back with the rest of the family.
After lunch we all headed out for an afternoon of bowling.
Our lane pretty much hated us.
But it worked out alright.
I had the worst game I ever remember bowling.
And then did "ok" on game two.
The 12 of us had a blast cheering one another on.
::mom. dad. gma. gpa. elise. marlene's arm.::
mom. she won both games!
And will head out to my parents' tomorrow morning.
Bring on the fun!