Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is more beloved by me than Christmas Day, even though tomorrow is my birthday. The anticipation, the preparation, the feeling of excitement; they all combine to put me in a mellow mood of general well-being.  It's quiet and stress-free.

When I was growing up, my holidays were always split between my divorced parents. Christmas Eve was spent with my father and his extended family.  There would be mountains of food, many cousins my own age, and the contrast of a warm fireplace against the backdrop of a black night illuminated by crunchy snow and icicles.  My brother and I would be returned to my mom late at night, simultaneously sleepy and hyped up on sugar with tons of presents piled in the back of the car.

The next day we would wake up, open our presents with my mom and then head over to her family's house.  Christmas Day was an all-day event with more food, games, running around the farm and the Cliff's notes version of a family fight and reconciliation.  Every year there would be some drama, but it always seemed to get wrapped up before the day was over, usually over a game of Pictionary.

Both gatherings had at least 30-40 people at them. It was chaotic, loud and a lot of fun.

There won't be 30 people here today.  I have a turkey brining in the disinfected sink.  I have a pumpkin pie going into the oven.  Later the kids and DH are going to make a fancy punch for the punch bowl.  There will be no lunch, just spinach dip, french bread, shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers, and cookies.  

We have more food then we can eat.  We'll stuff ourselves and then play board games.

Later we'll attend a Christmas Eve service and then bring our sleepy children home, bundle them into bed and relax by the light of our Christmas tree.

Anticipation. The quiet moment before the day begins. The silence before the baby's cry.

May we enjoy the day wherever we are found.

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