So much has happened in the last week and most of them in the form of Christmas blessings. It's hard to say where to begin, but I'll give it my best shot.
First off, this year has been great. I got all of the shopping done at least two weeks before Christmas and all of the presents wrapped before Christmas Eve. This is amazing, since every year I'm up until midnight the on the 23rd wrapping gifts and preparing them for our huge family get together on Christmas Eve at my SIL's house for Hubby's side of the family and then I'm up until midnight on Christmas Eve finishing the wrapping for our kids and my side of the family. This year the bourbon balls were made well ahead of time and I made enough to give away this year. All of these are great accomplishments and made for a more stress free preparation time for Christmas.
- On Wednesday I texted my brother (who lives in another state) to confirm his address. He called me back and told me he was coming home for Christmas this year. The first time in over 3 years. It was a surprise for my mom and was a complete surprise for me, too. That was awesome! I was really excited to see him and I knew my kids would love to see him, too.
- Since we moved into the neighborhood a few years ago I've been making cookies for all of the neighbors. It's my way of getting to know them better and a way for the kids to share the Christmas spirit. This year (again on Wednesday) the neighbor across the way brought over cookies and our next door neighbors gave us cookies. That's really nice!
- Again on Wednesday, Hubby started his Christmas vacation early and came home after a half day of work. He was able to see Boogie perform in his monthly preschool sing and then later in his Christmas play. Boogs was bouncing off the walls that Daddy was there to see all of his performances.
- Another Wednesday blessing, on the way home from Boogie's performances, I realized I had not taken any meat to defrost for dinner and I was racking my brain for what I was going to serve my family on our usual whirlwind Wednesday. Fortunately, Hubby was taking them to their dance class to give me a break, but I still needed to make dinner. I came home to find a phone message waiting for us and it was another family from our Church who called to ask if they could bring dinner over that night. Dinner solved! She very graciously prepared a yummy, family friendly dinner. She happens to live just down the street from where the kids were taking their dance lessons. So in between lessons, Hubby picked up the food. When he brought it home it was still warm, smelled delicious, and we scarfed it down happily. We are so grateful for their generosity. It couldn't have come on a better day.
- Thursday we went out to dinner with my side of the family and saw my brother. We haven't seen him since May and to see him two times in one year is pretty fantabulous. It's usually several years between visits.
- We had a fabulous Christmas Eve with family. I love that my sister-in-law has taken over hosting Christmas Eve at her house. In the past Hubby's great-aunt used to host a similar open house. When she passed away several years ago, my SIL took up the tradition. It's a great time and the kids love getting dressed up and seeing their cousins.
- We attended Christmas Eve Mass with family. My other SIL is the children's choir director for her parish. We go to her parish every Christmas Eve to listen to our nieces and nephews sing. Of course we always arrive a little late and it's hard to find seats. This year we sat with the children's choir as there was a little bit of room for us. Boogie desperately wanted to sing with them and was disappointed that he couldn't. However, when they sang, "Go Tell it On the Mountain" on stage, he stood up in his seat and very clearly, loudly and full of confidence sang it with them complete with hand motions. It was so sweet and the parishioners that could hear him nudged each other and smiled. His innocence and his passion was so wonderful to see. It was the favorite part of my night.
- Christmas Morning, when Boogie was asked who brought him presents he said, "Mommy, Daddy, and Buggy." We asked who else (Meaning Santa) and he said, "No one else." So it looks like we've done our job and he knows that Jesus is the reason for the season. While he still believes in the concept of Santa Clause, it's as if he knows that Santa is an accessory and a part of Christmas, but not Christmas itself. I'm okay with that.
- Christmas Day, again time with my side of the family, made that much better with my brother's presence. A bonus was getting to Skype with our Filipino relatives who are still in the Philippines. We were able to meet them and talk to them. We've all seen pictures, but I was two the last time I saw anyone. My mom was able to talk to her side of the family. We also came home to find a tin of Christmas treats on our porch left by a friend. Thanks L.!
- Day after Christmas, going to my parents church and watching my dad play the drums with the worship team. And then having dinner one last time with my brother before he headed back home the next day.
The was a pretty wonderful for Christmas. I was reminded of the goodwill of others. Gifts of food and treats. The love of family. This year I was able to fully celebrate with both sides of our family. I was worried about my brother spending Christmas alone, although I know he has many friends who would have taken him in. But this was wonderful and perfect. I enjoyed watching Christmas unfold through the eyes of my children. I am grateful that God sent his only Son to come down from heaven to be His gift for us. I pray that we all carry the Christmas spirit of love and goodwill to others throughout the year and not just at Christmas. Merry Christmas!