It's Christmas Eve!
Today, the family is laying low. It's wonderful. We've got 2 people a bit under the weather (Teagan and Jeff) so we are spending the day in jammies and staying cozy and watching TV. I've done some cleaning up in the kitchen and a little baking.
This evening, we have church. I sing with our Praise Team. For the family service at 7, I have to arrive at 6:15 - which works well because then the family is guaranteed our normal seats. After church, we come home.
We each open a specific present - new pajamas and this year's Christmas ornament. Teagan is getting Minnie Mouse pj's and Zach is getting Marios pj's. Their ornaments this year are Hallmark Mickey (for Zach) and Minnie (for Teagan). Daddy and I get new pj's this year, too.
The kids will put out our gifts for Santa and sprinkle reindeer food out front. We don't leave cookies for Santa since we know he gets cookies at most every other home. Instead, we leave a few bags of groceries that the kids shop for so Santa can take that food to families who need it. The kids weren't quite as into shopping for the Santa food this year but that's partially my own fault for not emphasizing it as much.
Then the kids head to bed and we wait a bit for them to be sound asleep before setting up Santa.
Wedding Barbie and Ken for Teagan. Stuffed Yoshi and Mario race track for Zach. Stockings that will be overstuffed with Dollar Tree treasures and some sweet treats.
Then I head out again - back to church by 10:15 for the 11:00 service. I take the Santa food with me to give to my friend, Jennifer. Her parents are very involved in a local food pantry so she takes our Santa food, puts it in her trunk, and delivers it to her parents for the food pantry.
It's a beautiful service. It is all carols and Bible readings that tell the story of Christ's birth from the Old Testament prohecies through the Gospel telling of the birth story. My favorite moment in the service is ending with "Silent Night" as we light candles. The lights dim with each verse until the sanctuary is dark but still brightly lit by all the candles. It's so peaceful and beautiful. I get the added benefit of being in front of everyone with the Praise Team so I am looking out over a sanctuary full of people that I love and who love me.
Then home and directly to bed.
Up in the morning to make breakfast - the plan is a breakfast casserole and cinnamon roll monkey bread. While the food is in the oven, we open presents. Then get dressed, eat, and load up the car to spend the day with my family.
Wednesday I have to work but I'm off after that until Jan 2.
I've struggled a lot in the past months. But the past week... things have been just as busy, just as stressful but my head and heart are back in the right place. I've got Christmas Spirit and am enjoying this down time with my family, looking forward to Christmas Eve with my church family, Christmas Day with my family, and am even looking forward to what should be a quiet and productive day at work on Weds.
Merry Christmas to you! If you're struggling to find enjoyment this season, my prayer is that you can let go of your burdens, your grief, your loneliness, your struggles... even if you just let go for an hour. Everyone deserves peace, hope, love and joy on this holy day.
And ending with a special holiday greeting that my kids approved: