CHRISTMAS REFLECTIONS

This creche was a gift from Grandma Mc Closkey in the 1980’s


WE ARE STARTING NOW TO TAKE DOWN OUR CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. IN TWO DAYS WE WILL BE ON THE AUTO TRAIN HEADING SOUTH. AS WE PUT AWAY THE DECORATIONS – MADE BY OR GIFTS FROM OUR CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN OR FRIENDS, IT IS A NATURAL TIME FOR REFLECTING ON OLD MEMORIES AND THE NEW MEMORIES FROM THESE PAST DAYS OF CELEBRATION.

SO MANY HAPPY TIMES TO PONDER. WORKING BACKWARDS – THIS PAST FRIDAY WE WERE HONORED TO HOST AN ENGAGEMENT PARTY FOR OUR OLDEST GRANDDAUGHTER AND HER FIANCEE. IT SEEMS FITTING THAT OUR OLDEST GRANDCHILD SHOULD LEAD US INTO THIS NEW PHASE OF GRANDPARENTING. AND SINCE WE SO LOVE HER AND ALREADY FEEL LIKE HER FIANCEE IS A BELOVED PART OF THE FAMILY, IT WAS A TRULY HAPPY OCCASION. THE FATHER OF THE BRIDE TO BE ( OUR OLDEST SON) GAVE SUCH A MOVING TOAST TO EMILY AND DAVID THAT I WAS COUGHT UP IN THE EMOTION OF THE MOMENT AND COULD NOT BRING MYSELF TO WHIP OUT MY CAMERA. IT JUST SEEMED THAT WOULD DETRACT FROM THE MOMENT. INDELIBLY IMPRESSED IN MY MIND IS THE RAPT ATTENTION OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS AS THEY FOCUSED ON OUR SON AND HIS LOVING WORDS TO THE FUTURE BRIDE AND GROOM.

CHRISTMAS EVE WAS VERY SPECIAL – WE HAD AN ADVENT CANDLE CEREMONY WITH MEG AND BRENDAN AND THEIR THREE CHILDREN WHERE EACH OF THE CHILDREN READ A BIBLICAL PASSAGE FOCUSING ON THE BIRTH OF CHRIST. IT IS SO EASY TO LET PRESENT GETTING BECOME THE MAIN FOCUS AT THIS HOLY TIME. OUR LITTLE LITURGY DIDN’T LAST THAT LONG BUT WITH BRENDAN’S PIANO PLAYING, AND THE REST OF US FOLLOWING ALONG WITH THE APPROPRIATE HYMN AND THE VARIOUS READINGS, IT WAS FOR ME VERY POWERFUL. WE WERE CERTAINLY LITURGICALLY SPOILED BY THE HOME MASSES OF OUR BELOVED UNCLE BUD. IT HAS NOW BEEN SEVERAL YEARS SINCE HE DIED. WE MISS HIM!!!

CHRISTMAS DAY WAS PRETTY EASY FOOD WISE IN SPITE OF THE VARIETY OF FOOD PREFERENCES WHICH ABOUND IN OUR NUCLEAR FAMILY OF THIRTY ONE. WE HAVE FOUR ROCK SOLID VEGETARIANS ; WE HAVE THE GLUTEN FREE; THE LACTOSE INTOLERANT; AND THE ONION ALLERGY. BUT WITH ALL THE SUPPORTIVE COOKS IT TURNS OUT TO BE A PRETTY YUMMY FEAST.

THE MAIN ISSUE WE DEAL WITH IS SETTING UP THE TABLES. UP UNTIL LAST YEAR WE HAD THREE TABLES. THE “OLDER ADULTS” IN THE DINING ROOM; THE YOUNG ADULTS ( COLLEGE STUDENTS OR RECENT GRADUATES) IN THE LIVING ROOM; AND AT THE ROUND TABLE IN THE DINETTE, THE MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOLERS. THIS YEAR SOME OF THIS LATTER GROUP ASKED TO BE COMBINED WITH THEIR OLDER SIBLINGS AND COUSINS. AND SO WE PUSHED THEIR TABLES TOGETHER. IT MADE FOR A PRETTY LONG TABLE. WE WILL HAVE TO SEE WHAT CREATIVE INSPIRATION COMES TO US FOR THE NEXT FAMILY GATHERING. A LARGE FAMILY IS TRULY A BLESSING BUT IT DOES BRING WITH IT SOME QUIRKY ISSUES TO BE RESOLVED.

HARD TO SAY WHAT WAS THE BEST PART OF OUR FAMILY CHRISTMAS. THE MEAL AND THE SHARING AT MEAL TIME IS OF COURSE VERY SPECIAL. BUT SO IS THE GIFT EXCHANGE. AT THANKSGIVING TIME, ORGANIZED BY LISA, IS THE PICKING OF NAMES BY ALL THE GRANDCHILDREN – FROM YOUNGEST TO OLDEST ONE A NAME IS PICKED AND SECRETLY SHOWN TO LISA. AND THEN AT CHRISTMAS TIME AGAIN FROM YOUNGEST TO OLDEST THE GIFTS ARE OPENED. IT IS ALWAYS SUCH A FUN TIME.

BUT MAYBE SOME WOULD SAY THE SINGING IS THE BEST PART. USING SONG SHEETS THAT JERRY’S SECRETARY PUT TOGETHER IN THE 70’S WITH HIS GUIDANCE, THERE IS A CONTINUOUS JOYFUL FLOW BETWEEN RELIGIOUS AND SECULAR SONGS.

EXCEPT FOR GRAHAM WHO IS WITH US TILL TOMORROW, THE CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN ARE NOW BACK OR HEADING BACK TO TO THEIR VARIOUS HOMES AND SCHOOLS. ASIDE FROM THOROUGHLY ENJOYING GRAHAM’S COMPANY IT WAS SO HELPFUL TO HAVE HIM WITH US AS WE TOOK DOWN THE TREE. MAYBE AT SOME POINT WE WILL HAVE TO GIVE UP ON HAVING A BIG LIVE CHRISTMAS TREE – BUT WE ARE NOT YET READY TO BOW TO THE COMMON SENSE OF HAVING A SMALLER TREE. IN 1976 WE PUT TOGETHER A FIVE POINTED STAR AND THEN HAD EACH OF OUR CHILDREN DECORATE ONE OF THE POINTS OF THE STAR. SINCE THEN THIS STAR HAS OCCUPIED THE PLACE OF HONOR AT THE TOP OF OUR CHRISTMAS TREE.

I LOVE THE MANY FACES OF CHRISTMAS!!!

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