There is something so peaceful about a snow covered Christmas morning.
The fact that the last time it happened was ten years ago, made it all the more special!
And the last time we had a three and one year old in the house for Christmas? Oh my! A very long time ago!
Opening stockings in the morning with Judah, Asher and Charlie, along with everyone else, was pure delight, as was a happy breakfast around the table with Lara's special Christmas morning breakfast casserole and Haley's amazing gluten free cinnamon rolls!
We even had special Christmas coffee, chosen by Claude the cat!
That's a funny story...this roaster from Czech roasts seven different blends and then lets his cat walk by and sniff each one. Whichever one he stays by the longest is the one the roaster picks to be his Christmas blend to sell! It was definitely a good one.
With stockings, breakfast and first coffee behind us, we gathered in our living room for the Christmas story read by Dave.
This tradition of many years used to last for an hour while we read, talked about what was most meaningful about the story in that particular year, and then prayed together.
But with little guys in the house, we've got a new tradition going this year!
As Dave read the story of Jesus' birth, Judah picked out different ones of us to act out the parts. Can you guess that Tyler was the angel bringing tidings of good news to all people?
And Claire and Lara were the shepherds who came to see the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothing (who is played by Judah!).
I think this was my most meaningful reading of the story yet! To see a new generation of Patty children absorbing the story was absolutely precious. I'm already looking forward to next year's version!
With the little guys down for naps, it was finally time to start opening gifts - three hours since we'd started our morning!
One of the best parts of this Christmas day was how luxuriously long the day lasted! We took our time opening gifts one by one so that each could be appropriately enjoyed and appreciated.
As we have for the past few years, we used an app called "Elfster" to secretly draw names among the adults. Caleb puts in algorithms that keep spouses from having each other's names, and then Elfster draws them and sends them out by email to each one of us...which means that no one knows who anyone else has. It's become a fun tradition!
Claire had Caleb's name this year, and two of her gifts to him were these beautiful pictures, painted and drawn by her. One is the Rockies of Colorado, where Caleb loved to tent camp when they lived there. The other is of Haley with Charlie. They're just lovely and so meaningful to Caleb.
While Dave and I were in Israel this past year, we were at a shop in the markets of Jerusalem where we have become friends with the owner. He is a Palestinian believer who runs his shop as a way to support himself as a church planter, and be a witness to his fellow shop owners. He sells hand carved nativity scenes made by Christians in the West Bank. Each figure is so unique.
It was so fun to give these indestructible figures of the Christmas story to our kids with kids!
Speaking of those little kids...having Judah, Asher and Charlie with us this Christmas was everything you can imagine - hilarious, delightful, funny, joyful and meaningful.
It meant our Christmas celebration literally lasted all day as we'd open a few gifts, then play with the kids, drink coffee, make food, put kids down for naps, and start over! It was truly a gift to be able to celebrate with all of our kids and their kids for the first time in 8 years!
With everyone staying at our house this week, we got to experience life together from morning to night. Such a gift!
With snow continuing to fall, the kids were put into bed, the house was tidied, dishes were done and we were left with a few hours of enjoying time in the living room by the fire, playing a fun game until we all reluctantly went to bed.
This was definitely the most unique Christmas I've ever celebrated. The joy of having everyone together, and the wonder of seeing it all through the eyes of our grandsons, made it a very precious time.
My heart is full of praise to the Lord for his kindness that allowed us to spend this Christmas with our kids and grandsons.
I'll treasure it in my heart for many days, weeks and months to come!