When I was a little girl, Christmas Eve was my favorite day of the year. I never counted down to Christmas Day; I always counted down to Christmas Eve. It came sooner, and besides, we were one of those strange families who opened their presents on Christmas Eve. It was a tradition from my father's side of the family and I have a feeling it originated because his mother, whom we called Mama Mary, couldn't stand the wait till Christmas morning. Who knows? Anyway, the next morning, Santa came, per tradition.
Tom and I instituted the same tradition when we got married, opening our presents from friends and extended family on Christmas Eve. We never taught our children that Santa was real, but we pretended he left gifts under the tree for them on Christmas morning. They always knew who the gifts were really from. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think you're a bad person, or not Christian, or anything like that if you taught or teach your children that Santa is real. That's a personal decision parents have to make. We just chose to tell our children he was pretend, like Micky Mouse, or some other character. Jesus is real. He lives. Santa Claus does not. We don't have an aversion to the character of Santa, or think he represents Satan with the letters jumbled up. Nope, he's just the make-believe, fat guy in the big red suit. Our children still enjoy Christmas morning immensely.
So, tonight, after we attend the candlelight Christmas service at church, we will gather as a family once again, all seven of our children, two married-in-loves, and our grandbaby. We'll be coming home to a delicious meal of Swiss chicken in the crock pot followed by this S'Mores Cheesecake. It will be our big Christmas meal this year because tomorrow Abby, Jonathan and Kyle will fly to Branson, MO to visit Jonathan's family for a week.
We'll gather around our living room tree, read the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2, then slowly, slowly take turns opening each gift one at a time, starting with the youngest child. It promises to be a very interesting night, as Caleb and Kyle both celebrate their very first Christmases. The excitement today is heavy and almost palpable.
I thought I'd show you the quilt I finally managed to hang in the stairwell. More accurately, I should say, "Tom managed to hang..." I'm so happy with how it turned out.
Have a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I pray you will enjoy all the warm family times, give and receive lots of hugs, make treasured memories, and especially delight in celebrating the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, who came that we might truly live.