Sunday, December 27, 2009

Scenes From Christmas

Our Christmas Eve started out with a Candlelight church service: Hushed voices, joyous songs, antsy children in rustling dress clothes, twinkling lights, manger scenes, and excitement for the coming Christ. Outside the sanctuary, icy sleet pelleted the windows, reminding us of the warmth we had within.

We rushed out into the blowing ice afterward, to cars with frozen doors and covered windshields. Thanks to my selfless husband armed with an ice scraper, we traveled to my aunt's house for our family Christmas Eve gathering: hors d'oeuvres, sweet treats, spiced drinks, kids presents, adults white elephant gift exchange, laughter, celebration.

With tired and loopy kids, we made our way back out into the storm. The ice pellets had changed over to tiny snowflakes, swirling and blowing all around us; it was magical.

The girls fell asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow, worn out with excitement and anticipation. Their exhausted parents weren't so lucky; I stayed up wrapping presents and being Santa, while Justin ventured out again for Midnight Mass. But even with the late hours, we still shared the children's excitement and anticipation. So much so, that I couldn't sleep for thinking about the next day's fun. And the next day's to-do list.

I woke up before the rest of the house, heating the oven for breakfast, arranging the stockings just so, and peeking at the sparkling white world that had emerged overnight.

The sun was just brightening the sky, reflecting rainbow colors off millions of crystalline snowflakes. The world was perfect for receiving a Savior: quiet, peaceful, untouched -- ready to be changed.

Inside, the girls were waking up. Tiptoeing down the hallway, peering around corners, wide eyed and still fresh from dreams. The reserve didn't last long, though. It gave way immediately to squeals and gasps, exclamations and laughter. I wished I could slow the morning down, reserving special moments with each child to witness their joy. But both were like tiny tornadoes -- blizzards, even -- demanding quick attention before moving on to the next moment.

They were so delighted with their big gift: a Snow White tent. They peeked through windows and rolled over each other inside, imagining princess parties and sleepovers. We played with Santa's gifts and stocking stuffers until both sets of grandparents arrived for breakfast and another round of presents.

All morning, Mia was desperate to go play in the snow. This was the first snow of the year, and it had been a long time since she'd gotten to see or play in any deep snow. We held her off as long as we could; it was 15 degrees outside and neither of us was looking forward to a 2o minute dressing session to endure what was sure to be a 5 minute snow-play session. But, it was Christmas -- we couldn't deny her wish. Or, Justin couldn't deny her wish. I stayed under the shelter of the porch, guarding myself against the brutal wind, but enjoying Mia's playfulness.

She was bundled up in layers of clothes, jumping through snowdrifts and tossing handfuls of powdery wetness all around. She talked her brave dad into making a snow angel, that most dreaded, backside-freezing activity, and surprised him by pouring a scoop of snow on his head when he was least expecting it. I was super-glad it was him in the snow, and not I.

But I did find an acceptable use for my boots.

As expected, the snow and cold proved to be too much for Mia's delicate feelings. The whining commenced; snow had gotten into her boots and she was ready to come back inside. She didn't like the snow after all.

We warmed up and began the impossible task of cleaning the debris from our Christmas morning.

And a beautiful morning it was.


  1. So sweet! Is there anything better than a white Christmas? :)
    I love that your husband got out there and made snow angels!

  2. Sarah, this could not have been written more beautifully.

    "The world was perfect for receiving a Savior: quiet, peaceful, untouched -- ready to be changed." Love that.

    Looks like a perfectly festive Christmas celebration. Tiny tornadoes and all. :)

  3. I'm so happy your family had such a happy, snowy Christmas! It looks--and sounds!--absolutely perfect.

  4. Oh, what a sweet family Christmas! How exciting that it was the first snow of the year - and how exciting that you got some use out of your boots! :)

  5. Umm.. Justin is holding your stomach like you're pregnant!

    I got some boots. I thought of you while I was trying them on. I had to take my sister with me to show me what was cool. I thought, "Maybe Sarah and I can make a deal. I'll wear mine in public if she wears hers in public."

  6. Chelsea - I thought so too, but cropping it felt weird. Like he'd just have an arm leading to....? It was much better to leave the arm attached and risk speculation.

    Because, alas, it IS just speculation :)

  7. I love your pretty purple dress!


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?