Yesterday was our Christmas Eve. My son Matt, his lovely bride Autumn and my grandkids are off to Soldotna today to spend the holiday with Autumn's family. So, we planned yesterday evening as our special get together. And, it was a perfect time for it.
My daughter Lauren and her husband Jesse Tauriainen drove up yesterday from Kenai (through the snow, blinding, so I am told), Christa just flew in from Ohio (in a midddle seat no less, poor sweet girl, good thing she's little), and Joey is, of course, off from school. And, the White Christmas that I had been hoping for, well as you know it finally came!
Spent the day with a huge prime rib roasting in the oven. My word the house smelled good. Made a macadamia, coconut, white chocolate parfait with Ghiradelli chocolate topping. Wow, for more than one reason. Wow, Lots of work. Wow, delicious. And wow, do I need to work out today.
We exchanged presents. But, the greatest gifts were not under the tree. Those gifts were in the hearts of each of us. Love and forgiveness, the unsolicited, unconditional, and undeserved type, was abuundantly given and received. Yes, even two-and-a-half year old Brayden who earlier in the day exclaimed in exasperation to his older brother Ashton, "you're not my brother anymore!", had a plentiful supply.
Love and forgiveness is, after all, what Christmas is all about. "For unto you is born this day, in the City of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
We're human and a long shot from perfect. Our failures, small or great, hopefully momentary and impermanent, unintended or not, sometimes leave trails on the hearts of those we love. Forgiveness is like newly fallen snow. It covers the ugly scenery of Winter past with the fresh promise of Spring yet to be. Close your eyes and imagine Anchorage two days ago. Now, open your eyes and look out the window. You see?
There is no amount of wealth to equal the treasure of the love shared between family, especially on Christmas. There is no greater gift you can offer to those you love than the look, the smile, the touch, each saying "the slate is clean, the past is past, all ill is forgotten, its all new between you and me."
That's the spirit of Christmas. That's the meaning of this wonderful day on which we celebrate the birth of God's greatest gift to us. May it be Christmas now and every day for you and yours. May your vision be only of the freshly fallen new snow, may all your slates be clean, and may your hearts be merry and light.
A very Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!