Hoping everyone had a fabulous Christmas! I know we did! For Christmas Eve my mom's side of the family gathered at my sister's house for food and "merriment" I guess. We've pretty much decided that merriment and food always go hand in hand. Especially at the holidays. It was very nice. Lots of yummy stuff to eat and people to chat with while doing so. We hosted Christmas day at our house for Jon's side of the family! His sister, Patricia, is home from the Army on leave before she ships off to Korea for a long while. Jon's dad, brother and his fiance were also here. It was great (even if the toys they got warrant loud, annoying toys for them in the future.)
Avery had an absolute blast! She LOVED getting new toys (even if it took her a month of Sundays to actually tear them open.) Christmas Eve especially was made even better by the other kids to play with, kitties to chase, and sugar to be had. It seemed as if she asked everyone who passed for a Rice Krispy treat or brownie... and all of them obliged her. She was wired for quite a long time. I thought she'd finally pass out on the way home, but as we pulled in our driveway she popped her head up and yelled HOME! This was at 11pm! Holy Cow! Same thing on Christmas day. Way too much sugar and social activity to fall asleep at a normal time for the littlest Culbertson.
On Christmas Eve I had also invited my friend, Sarah, who has recently become the only Christian in a Jewish household. She said that when she was seven she went to a friend's house at Christmas, however, that was long ago and she doesn't remember much. Typically her family goes on vacation around the Christmas holiday, but decided this year to do it in January instead. It seemed only fitting that she come with us to our Christmas celebration. She had a great time! She watched all of the kids open their presents and even stayed afterward for my immediate family's gift giving. It is so crazy to think that she doesn't have presents for her on Christmas or even presents to buy for her family. I do think that maybe this heightens the focus on the true meaning of Christmas for her. Especially since she's a relatively new Christian and has not been over stimulated by the media hype.
Maybe next year I'll try something. Give a gift (monetary or otherwise) to someone who is really in need and I'll do it in honor of the family member I'm "supposed" to be buying for instead. Would people understand? Would they feel honored or slighted? Could we teach our children that it's not about what we get, but what we give? Or have they already been taught that Christmas is about the latest toys and best gifts? Do we really stop to think about the greatest gift, Christ, God's only son, when we are opening that sweater or gift card? Could our kindness to those truly in need show Christ in our lives to them and possibly lead them to salvation? Isn't this our purpose? To be Christ's ambassadors? I know that I need to ask myself daily, "If I am the only example of Christ that the people I meet today ever see, would they know His love for them? Would they want to be a Christian?"