Well, we are in the final countdown to Christmas. For the first time in the eight years we have lived here, we are not going anywhere for Christmas and we are not hosting anyone here. Kind of weird in a peaceful and calm sort of way. We decided to give our family a rare but much-deserved holiday without highway travel. Today is incredibly quiet. We're not even heading out to the overcrowded vigil Mass today since we can go tomorrow morning. Noah will serve Mass on Christmas day, which is especially nice.
A few incidentals to report as I reflect back on the last few weeks:
I managed to follow through on my plan to make it through the entire shopping season without setting foot in a mall. I have not darkened the doorstep of either big mall in our area since way before Thanksgiving. In fact, I can't even remember when I was last there. While I did a lot of shopping online, I did everything else right here in town. It was a very stress-free shopping experience.
I am also happy to report that the Christmas stocking tradition was given a reprieve. It required some last-minute visits to stores, but since my self-imposed rule meant not leaving the boundaries of my town, it was no big deal. In fact, I could have walked to the stores had it not been about 7 degrees outside. (I should note that while I would not walk to a store in 7-degree temperatures, I did see three people out jogging. That's just insane.)
We made it through all of our various Christmas-related events. Here are a few photos from the girls' "holiday dance demonstrations."
As I write this post, the girls are sitting here in the family room talking about Christmas. Olivia is reading to Chiara -- a book called "Silent Night," and she's asking Chiara if she knows the most important thing about Christmas: That Jesus was born, and we all get that present. Now Olivia just yelled, "Only seven hours until we go to bed." Somehow I have a feeling that the seven-hour itch has to do with more than Jesus' birthday.
Chiara's Christmas intensity has been increasingly obvious the past few days. She worried aloud last night that Santa might forget what she wants. She can rattle off her list at the drop of a hat, right down to the "new place mat" she requested. Every night, when we light the Advent wreath and pray before dinner, she insists on "reading" from a prayer book. She always says the same thing: Thank you God to giving the baby Jesus to Mary. One day at lunch last week, she continued her "reading" by saying that Jesus was home with Mary and they were playing games and that Joseph had gone for a walk to take out the trash. Sounds like life in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago was an awful lot like life right now.
So I guess this is it. Merry Christmas everyone. I'd like to think I'll post some sort of reflection for Christmas, and I may even write one in my head, but will it make it to the blog? Probably unlikely. Just know that I will remember all of my wonderful blog readers in my Christmas prayers. Thank you for being part of my journey. Peace.