Christmas Eve morning the children and I cleaned the house and baked cookies. Then we put cookies in bags by the dozens, attached a Christmas card, and loaded up into the Polaris to deliver goodies to our neighbors. This was another moment where we laughed over country life: delivering cookies on an ATV on Christmas Eve. I met a few of our neighbors for the first time. Most of them are older ladies who now call me "sweetie" and "honey", and were such a pleasure to meet. These neighbors of ours are golden and would do just about anything for us, I am convinced. The boys got to play a game of basketball at one house, we had drinks and sat on the porch at another, I saw one neighbor's crafty endeavors as she was sewing a quilt when we came by, and I met a man who makes furniture and promised to come back for a swing when our sun room is constructed.
After a full morning of baking, Andy declared that he was in charge of our Christmas Eve dinner. He is a fabulous cook. I pulled out a puzzle and didn't look up until Andy had created this feast:Hot crab dip::cornish hens::lemon asparagus::honey-glazed carrots::garlic bread
After dinner we watched The Nativity Story movie (fabulous) and tucked the kids in bed after reading in Luke. Andy put together the kids' ping pong table while I wrapped their gifts. Then we were secret Santa to a neighbor up the road, delivering a very special gift card secretly to their mail box. (It was the most thrilling gift we gave this whole holiday season, although I was a little afraid that Andy might get shot when the dogs started barking. Everyone sleeps with a gun in the country, and normally no one leaves the house after dark except to hunt animals in the early hours of the morning!) By God's grace Andy made it out alive, and at 1 am we were all tucked in and asleep until the designated time that the kids could get out of bed: 7 am. :)
The next morning the children were so excited. We opened each gift, one at a time, and lingered over a hot breakfast of caramel rolls and breakfast casserole. The children laughed and played, and we enjoyed the lights of the tree. Books were read, Lego sets were built, dollies were dressed up, and games and puzzles were played. We read the last day of our Advent devotion together and munched on cookies, feeling overcome with the grace and love of God in our lives.
After dinner (bowls of cereal) we decided we needed to switch gears and pack for our ski trip. We had to leave the house at 4:30 am the next day! So we pulled out the kids' warmest clothes and then put them to bed around 7:30 and began the arduous task of packing for a winter trip. And as if it were Christmas Eve all over again, we went to bed excited (albeit exhausted) for what the next day would hold!
"...Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die..."