Our grandchildren had a sleepover at our house this weekend. As has become tradition, they decorated the place for Christmas while singing and dancing to the Little Drummer Boy music box and Jingle Bell Snowman with his sidekick Barking Dog.
After Thomas the Train had circled the holiday village and our tiny Christmas tree covered with their favorite ornaments on a multitude of trips, it was time for barefoot running in the front yard’s chilly grass before the lighting. As the youngest, it was 2 & ½ year old Lincoln’s turn to do the honors. He had no idea what all the excitement was about, but as the older ones began the countdown, he followed their lead.
Pawpaw helped Lincoln flip the switch on the power cord and whoosh, the icicles lit up all across our roof. Before he had long to take it all in with eyes of wonder, he was whisked back inside for cookie baking and hot chocolate drinking which 6 and 4 year old sisters Sophia and Natalie agreed was the “most wonderful” part of the celebration. Separating holiday candies by color while eating more than he used to decorate his sugar cookie wreaths convinced Lincoln that they were entirely correct.
When we sat together munching and slurping, I spur-of-the-moment shared the story of how my Dad had given my Mom a Nativity Creche on their first Christmas and how it had made its way through the years of my childhood to that very moment. The children asked to see it up close and were very gentle as they passed it around the table, asking questions about baby Jesus and about me as a girl.
That reminded me of when my daughter Sara had done the same, so I brought another of our treasured decorations off the bookshelf for them to see. While Oliver’s Advent calendar holds a mini-Lego kit behind each date’s window, Sara had opened each small square of hers to reveal a drawing and a bit of story. By the time Christmas morning had arrived, she knew it all by heart and wanted us to audio record her as she acted it out. (Wishing we had captured it with the movie camera to show to the grandchildren along with the calendar.)
Oliver seemed fascinated by the tiny print and using his 7 year old reading skills, he began telling us the Christmas Story. He didn’t want to wait for each day to come. He read the whole thing, and then answered questions from his captivated younger cousins about what he had just read aloud.
Unexpected and miraculously marvelous! While we had listened in silence, I almost heard my heart beating in gratitude for that spontaneous sharing time. I’ll always remember the whole at-table experience, when what seemed like ordinary moments became extraordinary. Now that they’ve been jotted down, they can become part of our family’s legacy of memories for future generations to enjoy.
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