Christmas is a time for gathering together with friends and family, thinking about those we love who may be far away, and counting our blessings as we approach the end of another year. Irving Berlin wrote this for the 1954 movie White Christmas, which my family traditionally watches every Christmas Eve, and I think it’s a great sentiment:
If you’re worried and you can’t sleep,
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep
Counting your blessings
This year I’m blessed to be spending Christmas with three generations of family: my husband’s parents, my sisters- and brothers-in-law, my three children and five nieces and nephews. After all these years, the “in-law” part has melted away; this is my family, too. Everyone managed to make it this year, which makes it all the more special.
Today will be a busy one: wrapping the last presents, picking up the party trays, shopping for stocking stuffers, and going to Christmas Eve service at church. Tonight there’ll be nineteen of us gathered for a Christmas Eve party featuring Dale’s homemade shrimp and corn soup, sandwiches, veggies, cheeses, dips, and Christmas cookies. You can bet we’ll have the Christmas tunes cranked up and the wine flowing.
I love Christmas Eve, because it’s the day when all the preparations give way to the actual celebration of Christmas. I always try to pause and let it soak in for a moment. Whatever problems or sorrows we face, whatever undone tasks linger on our work lists, whatever challenges or decisions lie ahead, can all be set aside for now.
On Christmas morning, we’ll converge for presents around the tree. Here are tangible blessings: boxes upon boxes wrapped in paper, ribbon, and bows. I’m excited to see my husband and kids open the gifts I got them, because I have a couple of surprises under that tree for them. There’s a certain degree of mayhem that comes with so many people opening presents at the same time, but it’s a sweet one.
Christmas night, we’ll come together again for a feast, Whoville-style, of roast beef, potatoes, and all the trimmings. Blessings in abundance.
I hope, wherever you are and whoever you’re with, that you enjoy a Christmas brimming with blessings this year. I’ll leave you with this wish, beautifully sung by Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis, for a holiday filled with happiness:
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now
Wishing the happiest of holidays to you and yours!