I know from talking to many of you that you really make the best of being away from home during Christmas. I'm sure your day yesterday was full, full of love and giving and your family in Christ. I also know that many of you treasure those special, weird, silly, fun times of being with your families back "home", and you do miss it (just as you miss your other family when you are "home" for Christmas).
So Monday night and yesterday, I prayed that God would let me be your eyes and ears so you could "borrow" my family vignettes, to weave with your own Christmas memories from wherever you celebrated with your family in Christ. As I sat watching for the snapshots you would enjoy, I prayed for God to give you a sense of having shared in these moments with me, because you were in my heart the entire time. (To give you a picture - I kept a notepad with or near me and would often jot something down or slip into the other room to do so - praying all the time this would bless you. So see, you were truly there for these moments!)
So, snapshots from the Edwards family Christmas:
- That brief time when everything ... even Wal-Mart ... is closed.
- Pancakes and sausage for Christmas Eve supper, surrounded by Bob's daughter, son-in-law, and 2 grandkids (the 9-year-old saying he wasn't hungry because he'd had "too much sugar and protein today") .
- Grandkids wanting stories from PawPaw ... over and over and over and over.
- Hearing Bob's son-in-law read the Christmas Story in his deep baritone preacher's voice.
- Showing the kids how their noisemakers worked - and having the 7-year-old say, "Cool, we get to annoy our parents now".
- Opening the gifts the grandkids made us out of popsicle sticks.
- Being silly with the camera - trying to retrieve it to delete the embarassing picture of me with my backside in the air.
- Watching "A Christmas Carol" with the grandkids who were seeing it for the first time.
- Seeing the youngest one wide-eyed when talking with NORAD to track Santa ... then seeing her come out in her PJs and announce she was ready for bed because they had told her Santa was close but wouldn't come until she was asleep.
- Getting to read her bedtime story ... just the two of us.
- Watching Bob bake with his daughter.
- The teasing, the noise, the messiness, the gum popping -- all signs of LIFE in a home.
- Seeing the oldest grandson play Frankenstein with toothpicks.
- Watching my dad and brother fall asleep on the couch ... BEFORE we even served lunch!
- Cleaning up the kitchen after everyone was gone - a task made easier by our dear sister staying to help.
- Watching "It's a Wonderful Life" with Bob after the last dish was dried ... and being reminded anew of Ecc. 11:1, which is displayed beautifully in George Bailey's life - and yours. Like you, he wasn't looking for the return blessing ... and like you he gained more in the relationships he got from giving himself away than from any tangible need that was met.
- Being reminded from "A Christmas Carol" of the joy of giving ... that only those alive can be hands-on help to the needy .. that some people want to suppress the light of truth ... that in the end, Ebenezer Scrooge represents transformation: "I will know Christmas in my heart and keep it all the year".
Thanks for joining our Christmas celebration this year ... you made it extra-special!