Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Season of Comfort and Joy

A Season of Comfort and Joy

This year it seemed that the Christmas Season was truly one that brought me great

The preparation for Christmas seemed a bit overwhelming at first.  We had not even unpacked all our moving boxes when yet Thanksgiving was upon us.  My daughter Amy visited us on Thanksgiving for a few days.  I told her she could not go home until she put my tree up, and so she did, and there it stood, naked, without a thing on it, for nearly three weeks.  

One day, miraculously, it seemed, the Christmas boxes full of decorations that filled the dining room were emptied, places were found for all the beloved Christmas decorations, the tree was decorated, and the house was ready for whatever the season had to offer.  In fact, when the last Christmas decoration box was put away, I realized that for the first time since we had moved in on October 22, all boxes on the top level of the house had been unpacked!  For the first time since we moved in, I saw the dining room floor, better known as the unpacking place, without one box on it.  This was our first Christmas miracle that brought great joy.

A highlight of the season,
an event always sure to bring 
great JOY
 much comfort,
the East High School Girls of '63 Christmas Party.

The EHS Girls
I love these women!
Sometimes I can't even believe that we are all still together after all these years.
We continue to laugh, and giggle, and make jokes whenever we are together and the years just melt away.
Iris and I, shown together below, comment often on how much this group means to us as the years go by.  Here we are joking about the size of our antlers.

Some of the girls went to grade school together.  I was blessed to meet them all when I was fifteen years old.  When I look into the faces of these beautiful women, I don't see us as older women who have known each other for over fifty years.   I  see my girlhood friends each of whom has the same sparkle in her eyes that was there when we were teenagers.  Some things never change.

High school  friendships that deepen, and grow over the years are priceless.
There are few greater gifts than these rich relationships.

Family time during the holidays also provides great JOY.

I didn't always have a camera with me to capture the wonderful time I've had with family.  Moving to Colorado Springs has meant that I am now back in the same town as my siblings and cousins.  For years, some of the cousins have not lived in Colorado.  In the past year, three of us have moved back to our dear hometown.  My cousin, Diana hosted a wonderful get together at her home just before Christmas.  Having just married her wonderful husband Steve in May, this couple, still honeymooners, were wonderful hosts.  Thanks, Steve for bringing Diana back home to Colorado!

Somehow, I didn't get photos of our first dinner guests in our home.
My brother and his wife came over to share some homemade Snow Chili, cornbread, and great conversation on the Saturday before Christmas.

On Sunday, my daughter and her two children arrived.
Mason is on his way to becoming a great gift wrapper.
I can't talk his mom into wrapping my gifts anymore, but Mason was willing to do so, and he did an awesome job!  

Boston basked in all the love and affection that he received from Hannah.
Hannah, who really, really wants a dog, (so does Mason) spoiled Boston rotten.
He received many hugs, belly rubs, and enjoyed cuddle time with his best girlfriend.

Christmas Eve:  A Time to Celebrate the True Meaning of Christmas

I love this nativity that we purchased a few years ago.
I love that it includes five sheep.
I place the little lamp next to Mary and think of Julie.
I think of her as spending Christmas sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Amy, Mason, and I went to church early on Christmas Eve where we were to meet my sister Carol.
Carol's great surprise and great joy was discovered when she exited her car in the parking lot.
Her son, his wife, and her granddaughter had driven in from California and surprised her in the church parking lot.  We were also so excited to see them home for Christmas.
Sister Carol surrounded by son Erik,
and his wife Nancy and granddaughter Katie
at our home on Christmas Eve

I don't know when I have been to a more deeply moving Christmas Eve service.
Many in the congregation lost homes in the fire this past year.
The service, a beautiful, inspirational candlelight service, reminded us that as was prophesied  in Isaiah

The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light 

Having walked through many a dark day throughout the last few years,
I felt great healing as I sat next to some of those I love most with tears running down my face rejoicing in the birth of the One who came to bring Joy to the World.

After church, our unexpected guests came to the house for dinner.  Thankfully, I had more than enough food.  I was a little worried I wouldn't have enough homemade rolls.  I rationed those until everyone got at least one.  Everyone was impressed that I can still bake good, homemade rolls.  (I was a bit surprised they actually turned out.)

As I told my nephew Erik, it is good to know that when one fixes too much food guests are provided to eat it all!

Christmas Eve in our new kitchen!

Sister Carol with her handsome son
and beautiful granddaughter

Christmas Day

It was so much fun to have Amy and the children here for Christmas morning. 

Amy got a styling new hat!  Doesn't she look great?

The kids were so excited over their gifts.
Hannah got her longed for Uggs.  She looks so grown up in them!

After a brunch of more good food, the kids were off to spend the afternoon with their father.
I discoverd Boston in his bed shortly after they left.
Was he worn out, or was he sad to leave them leave?  I think it was a bit of both.

I took some time to practice using my new camera that my wonderful hubby surprised me with.
Isn't it just beautiful?
I love it.
It is my favorite color!

Then we welcomed the next round of guests who stopped by for a short visit.

Jim's daughter Trinette and her family
Christmas 2012
They were followed by the next guests.
Jim's daughter Thia and her family
Christmas 2012
And so, this is how we celebrated the first Christmas in our new home.

It was a white Christmas.
It was sunny and bright.
And it was filled with great JOY.