Last night I received exactly what I wanted for Christmas: all my kids (including their spouses/significant others and grandkids) at home. It has always been important to me to spend Christmas with my family. The first year my husband and I were married, his parents took us and his siblings on a train trip to visit his grandparents and extended family in North Dakota. That was the first (and last) Christmas I spent away from my parents during their lifetimes. Since having a family of our own, we have all always been together with the exception of the year our oldest son moved to Texas. I didn’t like being in North Dakota for Christmas and I didn’t like having our son in Texas for Christmas (even though he eventually came home with an awesome bride).
This year, our oldest daughter and her husband have spent the year teaching English in South Korea. Their contract runs through the end of the year, so we were warned they probably would not be home for Christmas. However, partway through the year, they realized they could save enough vacation days to actually make it home on Christmas Eve. My husband and I were the only ones who knew their plans, so it was a lovely surprise for all the others when they walked in the room during our Family Christmas Program last night.
Our kids are growing up, getting married, and starting their own families and I know the time will come when it won’t be possible for us all to be together Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Even though I have always treasured our times together, as I get older the desire for family time and the enjoyment I take from it continues to increase. I looked around the room last night, listening to the banter and laughter, and felt awe at what we have created. Warm and fuzzy doesn’t even begin to describe my joy. So, even though in my heart I know this will not last forever, for now, for today, I will relish this joy and enjoy the best gift of Christmas.