I loved our Christmas celebrations this year. They do not change much from year to year and it is the constancy of the same activities and stories, the anticipation and remembrance that I love. On Christmas Eve, we go to church together. The service always includes lots of scripture and singing. It is a precious time to ponder prophecy and fulfillment, the fortelling, announcement and coming of Jesus. This year was no different and I loved the quiet reading and joyful singing. The service was followed by hot cider and cookies and a time of fellowship.
When we got home, we did what we always do, we read two stories, "Ramona and the Three Wise Persons" from Beverly Cleary's book, Ramona and Her Father and "A Full House" by Madeline L'Engle. We can all almost recite these stories by heart now but their familiarity makes them dear. The boys know to get Daddy a glass of water before he starts to read because he will always choke up at the same place in the reading of "A Full House." It happened the first year and it has happened every year since, no matter who shares the reading with us. I remember reading that story with missionary families in Cameroon and with other friends over the years. Anyway, we read the stories and then opened one gift each. It's the same every year...
But then, some of us added something new this year. I thought that Jonathan, who now attends Christ Church, Hamilton would like to go to a later Christmas Eve Communion service, so some of us drove over to St. Alban's in Davidson for their late service. It was sweet to hear the carols, listen once again to the Christmas readings from Scripture, take communion, and join with other believers lighting our small candles in the darkness to Silent Night. Then we walked out into the cold night air and talked about worship on the way home. Thanks, J.
A few hours of sleep and then...
Some explanation of this picture is in order. When my children were young, they listened to Adventures in Odyssey on the radio. Like many young people their age, they can still quote lines from Whit, Connie, Eugene, and the Whit's End crowd. They remember with fondness the foibles of the Barclay family, but are permanently scarred, I think, by one particular episode in which the Barclay family comes downstairs on Christmas morning to find that all of their presents have been stolen. Well, that has stuck in my boys' minds ever since the first time they heard it and I think every year the thought crosses their minds that maybe, just maybe, this year the presents will be gone on Christmas morning. As they descended the stairs this year, they once again remembered George, Mary, Donna, and Jimmy and gave us "oh, no, the presents are gone" faces....except for Thomas, who was, I think, not quite awake. This, despite the fact that for the first time in Pinckney family recorded history, the children did not wake us up at 7:00 on Christmas morning. It had been a late night - those of us who went to St. Alban's didn't get home til after midnight - and then there were stockings to fill. Anyway, knowing it would be a late night, we had discussed our wake up time earlier on Christmas Eve, but the boys insisted, when Coty requested an 8:00 wake-up call, that we couldn't break tradition. They did not consider, however, that now that they are older and some of them used to college schedules where sleeping is at a premium, that they would find it difficult to wake up without an alarm clock. Andrew, the only one with an alarm clock in his room and coincidentally, the only dissenter from the "stick to tradition" crowd, woke up when his alarm went off at 6:00 (oops, he forgot to reset it from his work wake-up time), but he promptly shut off the alarm and went back to sleep. Sooo, no one woke up again til almost 8:00 and Coty and I enjoyed a bit of sweet conversation, snuggled under the covers on Christmas morning before the tap, tap, tap on our bedroom door and the sleepy faces of boys wishing us a Merry Christmas. One other little tradition is that I always ask if it snowed. This dates back to memories of my brother coming into my room on Christmas morning saying with excitement, whether it had or not, "IT SNOWED!" (Growing up in SC, a white Christmas was a rarely realized but always hoped for dream). Anyway, I have digressed quite a bit! We enjoyed the gift giving and opened presents one by one so we could all enjoy them. That's a tradition, too. We had a really wonderful Christmas breakfast, followed by games of 5 Crowns, the new card game, relaxing together, and getting ready for my family to arrive in the afternoon.
It is really a blessing to be live close enough to spend Christmas day together with my parents and sister's family.
Granddaddy and Mamaliz
Jonathan and Joseph, the oldest and youngest grandchildren on the DuBose side
Boxing Day, December 26, was quiet and peaceful, except for Andrew who had to work at a very busy Panera and Thomas who ended up working a double shift at Steak 'n Shake when someone didn't show up for work! Later in the day, we had a wonderful dinner with the Mickens. What a good cook Catherine is!
December 27 is Thomas's birthday. This has been a good year for him. He finished high school, traveled to Burkina Faso, worked hard, enjoyed his friends, started college, and had a very successful first semester. He loves Covenant and has good new friends there and did quite well in all his classes. He's eager for the next semester and his mom is quite pleased that he enjoyed his Biology class so much that he is going to take the second semester of Introductory Bio! I've loved hearing him discuss aerobic respiration, the fluid mosaic model, and other topics that only a biologist mother would love. Yes, those discussions float my boat! Anyway, Happy 19th Birthday, Tommy (that's his Covenant name - I'm used to seeing it on his email, but I don't think I can ever really call him that).
Also yesterday, Coty's folks, Bapa and Grammie, and two of the cousins, Amber and Gray (not siblings), arrived. I have NO idea how late all the cousins were up last night, but only one of the boys has made an appearance yet this morning. We are looking forward to the weekend with them and expect lots of funny "remember when" stories and probably plenty of games. Family times are sweet!