I do pray you have had a blessed Christmas celebration with those you love, and are now busy cleaning up the paper bits and reflecting on the many blessings your family has enjoyed on this wonderful Christmas Day! We have so much to be thankful for, don't we? Immanuel - God with us! Beyond comprehension.
I was about to title this blog ' A glimpse into our less than perfect Christmas', but I could not bring myself to be so negative about a day which had so many wonderful, delightful moments and blessings.
The Storyteller just came in and gave me a great big hug and said, 'Mommy, I have to tell you - this Christmas has been a really wonderful Christmas!', and it has.
I should back up a bit to Friday night - that's when my dear Historian awakened at 2 am with a real pain in his side that just wouldn't subside. He thought it was a 'stitch' of sorts, but decidely more uncomfortable and lasting much longer than any previously experienced 'stitch'. After not feeling well for two days, he finally relented and took himself to the walk in medical clinic where they gave him some medication and sent him home with the likely diagnosis of kidney stones. The poor man! He'll have to see his regular doctor as soon as possible for a more complete work up, but he is in some pain and very tired out with it.
Aside from the lack of sleep, being unsure about my after Christmas travel plans with the children, and being concerned about my husband, my biggest difficulty with the timing of this illness was that I was so counting on The Historian's help. He is a great help in getting things accomplished, when I give him a list and an expected time frame, he is a capable and willing helper. He did the best he could, but much more fell to me than I had planned for.
My elaborate plans quickly fell by the wayside and I was forced to do something I am not really very good at - simplify! I am better at making things a bit more interesting, more complex, more elaborate, more, more, more! Simplify! Hmmm, just how do you do that?
Did I mention that we had invited another 'orphan' family to Christmas dinner - a family if 7? They have some family in the area but were not planning to get together with them this year, and since we have no family here, we invited them to join us. I had planned to have a sparkling clean home, to make fancy veggies, elaborate side dishes, tasty condiments, molded butter mounds and an exciting centerpiece. I had planned ... not to simplify!
Beginning Christmas dinner preparations at 10pm on Christmas Eve has never been a dream of mine. By that time, I am usually ready for bed so that I can enjoy the next day with some measure of restedness, but I was in the kitchen making decisions.
It all worked out - with a lot less sleep than I had planned on, but when I finally crawled into bed beside my restless husband, I felt pretty much 'ready for Christmas'. The last few gifts were thrown into gift bags with some tissue, the stockings were filled and ready for the children to awaken to, and Christmas dinner was well in hand. During my preparations I was in constant prayer for my husband, and at last felt the Lord's peace and assurance replace my anxiety.
We awakened slowly to the happy sounds of our children enjoying their stockings. We leave the stockings on the foot of their beds so that they can stay in bed and open them slowly. We could hear them calling to one another 'Sister, I got a giant sticky hand' and 'Brother, I got some new silly putty - I can't wait to show you how to use it'. There is something wonderful about children who are delighted with inexpensive little trinkets - every little thing was examined and enjoyed.
Our company was a little late - they had some surprise Christmas travellers drop in and say hello, and they had gifts to unwrap and enjoy. They called ahead to explain so I turned down the oven and we sat down with the kids to enjoy watching them open a few gifts each.
When our friends arrived, the hot spiced cider was steaming in the old cider perk, and I had my cheese ball and crackers, along with vanilla sugar almonds and chocolate bark set out to nibble on. The table was set very simply and nicely by The Dreamer, the Christmas music was playing and the candles were lit. We started our meal with jellied Gingerale Salad, homemade cresent rolls and butter. We enjoyed Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes, Cheesy Company Potatoes, steamed Green Beans, Harvard Beets, and Heavenly Ham. We ate slowly, enjoying the meal and good conversation. After a short break we returned to the table to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus and enjoy slices of Boston Cream Pie cake and ice cream. The Historian began to get really uncomfortable again and disappeared for a short rest with a nice warm Soother Sac. After cleaning up the kitchen, we had a good visit. We had prepared some small gifts for each of their family members and everything was enjoyed and sincerely appreciated.
When we the family left, we rested for a while - the children had not had a chance to enjoy the things that they opened before our guests arrived, and because they have a 2 1/2 year old the children had quickly put the things away so he wouldn't be in danger of swallowing any little pieces. After our rest, we enjoyed opening the remainder of the gifts.
I know I have mentioned before the wonderful Advent Devotional our family has been enjoying entitled 'Jotham's Journey'. We enjoyed lighting the Advent Candles and finishing the book together before heading to bed. All in all, we missed our family, but it was a blessed Christmas. We chose to make the best of an unforseen difficulty, and while we may remember this Christmas as the 'kidney stone Christmas', at least we were together, and blessed with the friendship of a sweet family who love the Lord and share our values.
I am planning to wait until The Historian can get to the doctor for a complete exam and diagnosis and hopefully some find some relief for the pain before deciding when I am heading with the children up North to see my parents. I would not enjoy a trip knowing that my husband is unwell, though I don't think I can be of much help to him, at least we are here to support and encourage him.
As usual, our children's favorite gifts were the Playmobil toys - a few more wonderful animals for The Dreamer's zoo set, and a Police Helicopter and Headquarters for The Storyteller's modern days set. They also loved 'The Storykeepers' DVD set and the books they were given. They are having a great time together putting everything in place and making up stories about 'characters'.