Christmas Eve, as usual, starts with a few family members gathered around at my grandmother's gravesite to catch up on our lives and reflect on how God is working in them. It's one of my most favorite traditions. I was happy to see my cousins there. They had lost their father exactly a year ago so they arrived early to spend some time at his gravesite with their mom before meeting us at grandma's.
Greg and his family stopped by on Christmas Eve for a few hours so we were able to spend some time with them before the festivities ratcheted up. My nephews have such personality and character. I enjoy being with them immensely.
JJ surprised me with a giant print of his gorgeous photo "Two Trees". I cried because of the reason he told me he was giving it to me and I asked him to write about the photo on the back of the frame and to sign the print.
He is so sweet and I am so blessed.
I somehow managed to bake a batch of Matthew's favorite cookies…Mexican Teacakes…as he has asked for them for several years now. He rewarded with me with that special smile he has when he's especially happy and by popping several in his mouth within moments upon his arrival. No matter his age, he still has his mommy's heart.
Matt and Ash arrived in plenty of time before the 11pm Candlelight service, my other most favorite tradition. Mom graciously offered to watch the little ones so I could attend the service with everyone.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without singing Silent Night in a darkened church with the glow of candlelight warming the room as the clock strikes midnight. I could give up the tree, the lights, the decorations, the presents, but I couldn't give up the candlelight service.
Shortly after 6am on Christmas morning, I awoke to the calls of Max and Rori from the bedroom across mine. I
First he wanted to wake Aunt "Bee". We walked back up the stairs to her room and he went up to her bed and said in his sweet little three-year old voice, "Merry Christmas Aunt Bee". There was no movement, no response, nothing. He walked back towards the door where Rori and I were standing, threw his hands up in the air and said "Maybe I say Merry Christmas louder".
"Yes," I responded, laughing inside, "say it louder".
He walked back to her bed and said in a louder voice, "Merry Christmas Aunt Bee". We waited for a moment and the she silently turned over, her back towards little Max. "Say it louder", I told Max. So he did and this time, she sat up, a smile of love and excitement on her face as she opened her arms for a hug from the little guy she loves so much.