We love having our family around us at Christmas. Every year for forty-three years we have had a Christmas Eve gathering that originally included our kids, then their wives, then the grandkids, then the great grandkids, and occasionally other family members and friends who need a place to feel loved. Some live hundreds of miles away and will be staying with us for a few days, others are close by.
It’s the only time of the year that I enjoy cleaning the house because I know it is going to be used as a B&B, party central, and place of traditions and memories.
Our Christmas Eve traditions include steak kabobs, cooked on the grill outside in the cold, reading the Christmas story from Luke 2, and opening presents. Some other things we usually wind up doing include going to the sledding hill to my grandson’s delight, having snowball fights, eating lots of wonderful food, drinking festive beverages, playing cards, taking lots of pictures and putting them in a slide show with some great Trans-Siberian Orchestra music, and just relaxing.
My son is the biggest fan of these family gatherings. He is nearly forty now, but looks forward to the holiday gathering all year long. One of my favorite memories is the two of us freezing our butts off grilling in the garage (for the steak kabobs).. We often have a drink or cigar in hand. One year especially stands out in my memory, when my stoical son, opened up and showed me how well he understood some of the difficult things I had been through a few years ago. He was insightful and compassionate. He is like a Twinkie a little crusty on the outside, but soft and goey inside.
The first Christmas brought people together, too. It was a interesting group. The shepherds were considered low life outcasts, the wise men were foreigners from far away, and then there were a couple of kids, displaced my by a government program trying to find a place for an untimely, yet perfectly timed birth. No cream of the crop, no elites, no prominent people, but they all became part of the divine.