Our family Christmas was amazing this year. On so many levels and in so many ways. Maybe it was because of an incredible lead-up with all we did in December. Maybe it was because we were all healthy. Maybe it was because all three kids are old enough to really get into it - meaning, the true reason, the traditions, the excitement, the pretending.
Or, maybe it was simply because we were home. Together. Just us.
A candlelight Christmas Eve service. Opening new Christmas jammies and eating appetizers while watching a movie. Giddy laughs over cookies and milk for Santa. Races to get to bed in hopes that tomorrow would come that much quicker.
Christmas morning was full of laughter and shouts and delight and paper ripping. Gifts took a while because we went one at a time. A big breakfast together. Opening stockings. And the traditional scavenger hunt that led to the last gift of the day.
Pure joy. I'm smitten with my family. There aren't four other people anywhere that I'd rather spend my life with.
Since we've been able to stay home the last three Christmases, we've established the Make Your Own Pizza for Christmas dinner tradition. My kids love it. Love, love, love it! Yeah, we do it a handful of other times during the year, but for whatever reason, making pizzas on Christmas is an anticipated thing. It might be because by the time dinner rolls around and it's dark again, the boys laugh and announce "Hey! We're still in our Christmas jammies and it's dinnertime!" Because, it's true, wearing jammies all day never happens in our home. Christmas is the exception.
And the best part of being home on Christmas? When kids are in bed and the house is semi-organized from a fun day, it's just my man and I. With the Christmas tree lights and the fire. Talking about the day. Remembering the laughs. And preparing for the new year. Where are we going? Who do we, as a family, want to be? What big things is God asking of us and are we willing to obey? It gets me every time: tears because of nervous expectation and tears because God wants my family to be a part of building his kingdom. Is there anything greater?
And really, that's the essence of Christmas: realizing our need for a Savior, remembering our Savior who came, and relishing the chance to share our Savior with other people.
(Yes, my house is messy. It's Christmas morning! Yes, Annalyse is a whiner. It's, um, her personality? Yes, Grady Lee can read. But apparently not when being filmed. And yes, Grady Lee did almost run through the screen door.)