We first celebrated Christmas in Oklahoma with Family this past Thanksgiving. As soon as we arrived home, we decorated the house and made plans for a festive season!
The Home School Group had a Christmas Tea at our house. It was so much fun! Friend, Laughter and Food- does it get any better?
A week before Christmas Papa and Mama Mike suprised us with their plans to visit. That was a great treat!
Chris and his own Craftsman Tool Box - now we know what to get him for gifts! Itunes Cards and Sears Gift Certificates!
Ashley is our budding photographer. She had asked for a movie camera and her smile shows how happy she was to find one under the tree!
They were both excited to see the kids ski! And the kids liked showing off. But it was soooo cold! When we arrived at the resort, the thermometer had hit a whopping 2 degrees! We we sent David, Chris and Ashley to the slopes and Papa, Mike and I went to a restaurant and sat and visited after we visited the few shops at Purgatory.
The kids had a special suprise - but you have to read about that in a later post!
For me, Christmas has always been family. Most years, we traveled from Big Spring, TX to my Grandma and Grandpa Roork's home in Chouteau, Oklahoma. A little hamlet sat on the railroad, my Grandpa had pastored First Assembly of God in Chouteau for over 20 years. He was also the substitute mail carrier. My Grandma knew everyone in town, too. I have wonderful memories of that Town and Christmas.
Memories of arriving in the late of night and seeing my Grandparent's front porch light on. Knowing they were waiting for us. That tucked in the den would be a giant tree that Grandpa had cut himself and Grandma had decorated with little homemade ornaments. As we parked, those lovely little people would descend on the car, whisk me away and leave my parents in the cold to get themselves in the house the best they could.
I would eagerily await the arrival my Angela. She was my cousin and first-mate in mischief! We would sleep in the den under the Christmas tree. The wood stove would be stoked making the room toasty warm for Grandpa's girls. Laying awake, Angie and I would swap stories and giggle and finally drift to sleep knowing that Grandpa would be awake all night, keep the fire stoked and protecting us against harm.
In the morning, Grandma would be in the kitchen. No matter what else she fixed, there was also oatmeal for breakfast and toast topped with a mixture of maple syrup and peanut butter. My mouth waters. The smell of coffee made the vision complete.
Grandma would take us downtown to the little grocery store. It was small and cramped with little aisles and friendly butcher where she ordered her meat. Grandpa would take us to the corner drugstore and sit us on stools in front of the long soda fountain counter. I remember it being so long and polished. Behind the counter on the top shelf above the soda fountain would be toys lined for all to see. I remember a little baby doll he bought me there and I'm pretty sure my Easy Bake Oven came from there, too. I cried the day it burned to the ground. It was part of my childhood.
Christmas Eve was for the immediate family. Grandma, Grandpa, Little Grandma (my Grandma's momma), my Uncle Laverne (Grandma's brother), Aunt Sharon, Angie, Mom, Dad and Me. As time went on, we added Uncle Joe and new cousins. But my earliest memories were just the 9 of us. Gathered around Grandma's big table which was loaded with turkey and a roast (for my dad); sweet potatoes, rolls, salad, pies. There was prayer, Eating. And then gifts!
Gifts on Christmas Eve? You bet!
On Christmas morning, we awoke to a bustling kitchen. Breakfast wasn't a priority - it was lunch and getting all the food on the table for, well, the whole Town! Everyone stopped by at some point during the day. This was our extended family. Kids from Grandma's Sunday School classes. People in Grandpa's church. Folks from the mail route. I think everyone in that Town passed through our doors on one year or another.
David and I still carry these traditions. On Christmas Eve, we attend church then come home to a pot of Posole, tortillas and brownies. We gather together, our immediate family, all snug and warm in God's grace.
The next morning, we open gifts (that's David's tradition) and have cinnamon rolls. Then the cooking begins! We invite friends, neighbors, anyone who doesn't have a place to go to our table! It's great.
This year: David, myself, Chris, Ashley; Papa and Momma Mike; Marilyn and Larry Rogers and Matt; and Mark, Jill, Kale, Kate and Jack Palmer. We ate all day! We laughed! We were family.
Family? you ask. Yes.
See, it's not genetic similarity that makes us family. It's blood! And it's not human blood types. It's the blood of Christ!
"...that spirit of adoption by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!" Romans 8:15
Those who have believed that Jesus is the only Son of the one true living God, who have confessed their sins against Him and chosen to serve the living God as a living sacrifice; those who cry, "Abba!" - those are our family members.
All the genetics in the world will never be as powerful as the Blood of Christ.
That is my Christ of Christmas. My Father! My Abba!