Christmas Together - Wherever

Christmas celebrations have been an evolving thing in our family these past several years. As kids get older and houses are bought and sold, we move things and people and dates around to accomodate everyone as best we can. Our BIG family Christmas has moved from;

  • Aunt Helen's house in White Bear
  • Portland Avenue
  • Mom's new house on Larpenteur Avenue
  • Tom and Patty's house in Shoreview
  • Rob and Jane's house in Shorveiew
  • Sister Jane's house on Sterling
  • A Maplewood community center
  • Sister Jane's new house

So the location changes, but the occasions are steeped in family togetherness. Over the years we've had boyfriends/girlfriends who became spouses, and some who did not. We've had friends who had no family in the area that we've invited in over the years.

But the strength of our holidays has always been that everyone knows Christmas Eve is reserved for getting together with mom and the aunts and uncles. This year brings three new babies and two new boyfriends to the mix, so it stands to be the biggest gathering in recent history.

It will be chaotic and loud and joyful and, most of all, filled with love. We have been incredibly blessed over the years to still get along with one another. The death of our brother Rob seven years ago only served to strengthen the bond. We are all grown now, successful with beautiful families and each of us is flirting with the idea of retirement in the next 5 years.

So we continue to meet at this once a year holiday gathering because we know how important it is to laugh and catch up with one another. We know that every year with good health is a gift, so we celebrate that while we celebrate the birth of our savior.

I'm fortunate beyond measure to have both my immediate and extended family my life. I look forward to tomorrow's gathering with both a fondness for past Christmases as well as hope for future ones.

I'll leave you with a poem I've written about the holiday that speaks to these thoughts.

The Visitor                 by Jim Landwehr

If the ghost of my Christmas past
paid me a visit
what would I see?
I’d see ribbon candy and mixed nuts
and a living room buzzing with relatives.
I’d smell rib roast and potatoes
beneath a haze of cigarette smoke
I’d taste pumpkin pie with cool whip
and egg nog from a dainty glass.
I’d hear shouts of “Thank you, Mom!”
“It’s perfect!”
and “Save the bows!”
And I’d feel like I was enveloped in love,
I’d feel safe and warm, and I’d feel
like I never wanted the night to end

If the ghost of Christmas present
paid me a visit
what would I see?
I’d see my two twenty-something kids
in their pajamas on Christmas morning
I’d smell coffee and ebelskivvers
and the scent of evergreen.
I’d taste the marshmallow and fruit
of our chocolate fondue tradition.
I’d hear carols seeping from the stereo
Bing, and Perry and Nat King Cole.
And I’d still feel enveloped in love,
I’d feel grateful and fortunate
like my heart was given a great gift.

If the ghost of Christmas future
paid me a visit
what would I see?
I’d see that family always comes first
I’d smell the victory in Christ’s birth
I’d taste the sweetness of a life well lived
I’d hear the call to be present and love big
and I’d feel like I’d lived a beautiful dream.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Blogging off...


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