The mad rush is quickly winding down. The shopping is done, the gifts wrapped, the baked goods packed up. All we have to do is load the car and head out west where our family is waiting for the annual Christmas Eve gathering. Christmas Eve is the only tradition that has remained somewhat the same for as long as I can remember. As a child, we went to Granny's (on my dad's side). She had yummy frosted cookies with shiny icing and detailed features on the Santas and snowmen. If we weren't sick from all the cookies, there was also rich, creamy rice pudding served with warm custard sauce. And when I was a teenager, Granny had an aluminum tree with a motorized light that turned to change the tree's color from blue to green to red.
Along the way, the location changed to Mother and Daddy's house, but we still had a meal, our family gift exchange, and reading of the joyous birth of our Savior from the second chapter of Luke. One of the children has the honor of reading the beloved story, and it's become a right of passage of sorts to be old enough to read without stumbling over the words. The last two years, our grandson, Drake, has done the honors. I'm not sure who will read this year, but perhaps Allison, our new daughter-in-law who's attending our Christmas Eve for the first time.
A few years ago, my dad put a new twist in the celebration. He serves an exotic meat of some kind, so over the years, we've dined on peacock, emu, alligator, moose, Yak. There are a few others which I've forgotten (perhaps on purpose). This year is the Wild Alaskan Adventure with caribou, reindeer, smoked salmon, musk ox - we found an online place to order a sampler from our northernmost state. It should be interesting. Oh . . . we always have a ham, too, for a backup entree.
The excitement is building. In less than twenty-four hours, we will have dined, loved, celebrated, and ripped open a mountain of gifts. We are so blessed to have this family - four generations coming together - all because two thousand years ago, a baby came and changed our world forever. Blessed be the name. Jesus. Jesus.
May your Christmas be joy-filled as you remember and celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.