Wonderful Christmastime

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmastime.  I certainly did, although it wasn’t quite what I was expecting or planning.

We always want a white Christmas in Ohio.  One year, when I was a pastor, it started snowing during the midnight Christmas service and continued with big, fluffy flakes into the next morning.  Road crews cleared off the snow in time for everyone to travel to see family.  That was the perfect white Christmas.

This year, not so much.  With the snow starting on Friday, Christmas Eve eve, and the wind and frigid temperatures, it felt as if the snow fell for three days straight.  We only got three inches or so, but those three inches kept blowing around and rearranging themselves.  With the frigid temperatures, the salt that the plows put down didn’t do anything and the roads turned into icy messes.

Tom and I stayed inside all day Friday.  We were getting ready to venture out for Christmas Eve service when we found out that all the Lewis Center Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services had been canceled.  When the church leaders arrived at the church for the 3 p.m. service, they deemed the roads too dangerous.  They streamed the first service, then everyone went home to stay safe with their families.  I have to admit, I would never have canceled services like that.  It is too hard to be sure that everyone gets the word.  Plus, Christmas Eve and Christmas Sunday services are too important to me.  Instead of attending services someplace else, Tom and I watched the 3 p.m. service streamed online.

Christmas morning we went over to John and Jackie’s for brunch.  The roads were still very icy, even though we stuck to state highways.  We didn’t see any plows out on Sunday, so we hoped the road crews were getting a break and spending some time with their families.  It was cozy and warm inside John and Jackie’s, even though it was still frigid outside.  We enjoyed a delicious brunch with some excellent cinnamon rolls and an egg hash.  Then we had a good time opening presents.  John had bought a gross of Propel packets and wrapped them up to give to Jackie in several different packages.  She kept opening box after box of Propel.

John and Jackie with a pile of Propel

Tom gave me a reed for my big weaving loom and it came in a long tube which made it easy to guess what it was.  I got some wonderful jigsaw puzzles from John and Jackie which I will enjoy putting together.  I had almost gone through all the ones I had in the closet.  John got a couple of table tennis blades and rubbers, which makes me think he is getting too good for me to ever play.  Tom got some gourd cleaning tools and music for the concertina.

We all had a great time opening our gifts and thinking about how we would use them.  We played a couple of new board games.  My favorite was “Gimme That!” which is a totally stupid, silly, and amazingly fun game.  It took five minutes to learn and we spent a lot more than five minutes playing it and laughing.  It is hard to describe:  you count potatoes and grab the one pencil while rolling the die and performing the actions.  After some ping pong, a little supper, and some football watching, Tom and I headed home.

Monday was our family Christmas at Mom and Dad’s.  We gathered for dinner at one p.m. and had 13 people there.  Everyone contributed to the feast so there was plenty of food and a nice variety.  We had a our silly gift exchange with various unwanted items (and a few very nice gifts) being exchanged.  The only rule for silly gifts is that you have to take home what you received.  Mom and Dad instituted that rule after people left their gifts at Mom and Dad’s home.  I took some pictures, but seemed to either get everyone moving, with their eyes closed, or blurry.  Oh well, my memories are clear.

The cousins: Jackie, John, Jared, Alexandria, Devon
Family picture

The roads still weren’t great on Monday, but the temperatures were warmer and we felt like the road crews were winning the battle.  The main roads were clear and dry.

All in all, we had a wonderful Christmastime, even if there were some surprises.  We are thankful every year for the gift of family and being able to share this time with them.  Even more importantly, we are thankful for the gift of our savior Jesus and for being able to carry him in our hearts.  Our faith is not weather-dependent.

How was your holiday?  Did you have a wonderful Christmastime as well?