I found myself pondering the marathon that used to be Christmas when I had family. There was dinner on Christmas Eve at a paternal aunt's house and later at my cousin's place. Since we were a mix of Methodist, Baptist and Cumberland Presbyterian often there was a midnight service involved or the earlier one around 5PM for kids. One of the most magical I remember was in the snow at the CP church. It was right out of a Hallmark movie.
Mom's family ( all hundred of us) would celebrate the morning at home then load up for breakfast at Gagas' until she moved into an assisted living. You could barely move in her duplex but we all got in there and savored the moment. I'm talking pure chaos for a lot of little kids running around wired on the season. After she was gone, we continued the tradition at our log cabin where we shared the cooking and feasting and present opening. My parents ADORED Christmas and would go all out decorating the cabin inside including outside garland and lights. I've worked in healthcare my entire life and working on Christmas or the eve is my norm. We always worked around it.
Most of the players in this Christmas story are gone now. My family consists of 5 cousins, one aunt, two brothers and a beloved daughter plus a niece and nephew. Many of them I rarely see. I regret that I took so much for granted during the days that we were together as a family for any reason.
Mamye has made sure that I don't drown in darkness during this season of light. She gave me a tree and made me wrap presents for the dogs. It's been awhile since she's had one at her house so I think it's special for her too.
There is so much tragedy I refuse to dwell on it and give it power. Joy can be found in the most difficult and darkest circumstances and I think that's what Christmas is all about. I devoutly observe the seasons of the church even though I'm not always in attendance. The birth of Christ is only the beginning of the good news.
Y'all be careful out there shopping and give somebody something random. It feels so good to give for no reason. Feliz Navidad!