Most Christmases as a child, I spent the first part of the vacation with my mom, my brother, and my grandparents. Christmas Eve meant Aunt Edie's corn chowder and new pajamas. I slept in the northernmost bed in the blue bedroom with my brother in the twin next to me. There were years I could hardly go to sleep that night because I was so excited. Santa would always leave our stockings at the foot of our bed, so waking up several times in the middle of the night, straining in the dark to see the foot of my bed was not uncommon. We were allowed to open everything in our stockings any time after 6am, usually, but we had to wait until everyone was ready to open all the gifts. Oh the torture! As I got older, I didn't mind waiting. None of this I-just-woke-up-look in pictures anymore. Most years, my aunt, uncle, and cousins would arrive the day after Christmas and we'd do it all over again.
This year was a little different.
Katie and I braved the snow and bought a fresh Christmas tree. Katie not only braved the snow, but she braved being seen with me in one of my wacky moods.
M and I had been giving each other hints about our gifts for each other and allowing one other to ask one question per week for the preceding five or six weeks. Neither one of us had any real clue as to what we were getting. M got me an FM Transmitter. It's actually quite cool. It transmits from any audio source to an FM radio station up to 150 feet in all directions. This means I can listen to my iPod in the car. I can listen to the TV in "surround sound" if I have a couple of radios nearby. I can broadcast what's on my computer to the stereo in the kitchen. It's great!
Christmas morning began very early. Katie, her brother Andy, our friend Jovanni, and I went to the Christian Life Center and helped set up for the Christmas meal. Hundreds of homeless and struggling individuals and families were expected to arrive by bus to eat that day. I was happy to be able to help out.
Later that evening, M and I drove down with another friend, Sara, to my mom's for Christmas dinner. Dinner with my mom, Stephen, Agnė, M, and Sara was very nice. We exchanged gifts, ate a delicious cherry dessert (my grandma's recipe), and played Bananagrams, one of my favorite word games. Agnė got it for Christmas from my mom. And don't think that just because she's not a native English speaker that she won't give you a run for your money!
A blatant, yet beautiful answer to prayer was Heavenly Father's gift to us on Christmas Day. How very fitting!