I had to wait until today to write about my Christmases because there were four of them. The last one was last night, so now that my Christmases are over, I can tell you about them and show you some pictures.
We started our Christmases with Christmas Eve at Mom and Dad’s. We watched the Browns win (a Christmas miracle!) and then ate a light supper before heading to the 8 p.m. service at church. The sanctuary was packed and the choir didn’t sing, so we got to sit with Mom and Dad. Everything was very nice, right down to the final candle lighting and singing Silent Night. After the service Tom and I headed home.
On Sunday we got up and headed back to Lexington for church. I dreaded Christmas on a Sunday when I was a pastor – I would just finish up Christmas Eve services and have to head right back to church for Sunday morning. But I also loved Christmas on a Sunday – what better way to remember the reason we celebrate the holiday? It is amazing how much more relaxed I am when I don’t have to be in charge of the services or preach at every one!
Fewer people attended church on Sunday morning in Lexington. Instead of 400, there were about 90. But we had a nice worship service. Mom and I played “Once in Royal David’s City” as a cello / piano duet. After worship we went to Mom and Dad’s and opened presents. Tom gave me a slotted spoon, which is a great gift for a couple of reasons. First, we are together a lot and he had to be extra sneaky to get it without my knowing. Second, my old slotted spoon wasn’t slotted anymore – it was just a spoon with a big hole in the middle. Tom and I got Mom a World Series bat signed by all the Cleveland Indians. I think she really likes it. After presents we played a game, watched the Cavs beat Golden State, got ready for the next day, ate a light supper, and then headed home.
The next of our many Christmases took place on December 26. This was the Clymer Christmas at Mom and Dad’s. Everyone arrived by 11 and we opened presents before the meal. We don’t give each other Christmas presents but we play a game with “Silly gifts.” This year Mom cleaned out her game cupboard so just about everyone got a game. The silly gifts can be anything that people want to get rid of. Tom and I donated a few things around the RV that we don’t use and Julia had some interesting work gifts. The only rule for silly gifts is that you have to take them home.
After opening all the gifts, we had a nice Christmas meal together. Five of the six grandkids ate in the living room at the “kids” table. The rest of us sat at the “adult” table. If you look at the pictures, the people at the “kids” table are having a lot more fun than the people at the “adult” table. I don’t think that was true, but it looks that way! We finished out the day with a couple of hands of Uno, then people started heading home. Tom and I stayed and helped Mom and Dad get their house put back together.
Our final Christmas was yesterday with John and Jackie. They were in Pennsylvania with her family the week before Christmas so it was our first chance to celebrate with them. John came home from work a little early so we could open presents. Because John has turned into a gourmet “saucier de chaud” (hot sauce maker), we got him a dehydrator to preserve the peppers he grows. We got Jackie a sewing machine because she likes to do crafty things like make pillows. Jackie and John got me some puzzles and a couple of DVDs I wanted.It was good to spend some time with them celebrating Christmas.
All of our Christmases were wonderful. We enjoyed the good food. The presents were nice and I especially appreciate everyone’s thoughtfulness. The worship services kept us centered on Christ. But, my favorite part of all our Christmases was spending them with people I love. They are a special gift of God to me.