This year we did not have a Christmas Eve Candlelight service. We decided to take a year off and instead Rich and I hosted a Christmas Eve open house. We were surprised with the number of people that came through. It was great. I made a gigantic pot of clam chowder and everyone brought something to share. Kids were playing and a few of the younger ones were so adorable, they were all dressed up and after a while kept telling their parents, “we really should go, Santa is coming” so cute…

I had some great conversations over red wine. I did not realize how many people in our community do not have any family in Seattle. There was a lot of laughing. In some ways I enjoyed our gathering as much as I do the traditional candlelight service. My daughter Nicole and stepson, Aaron (our only adult single children) were with us and spent the night. We opened gifts in the morning, Alex (our almost 10 year old) had a pretty fun Christmas. He got a Risk game. Rich and I, Nicole, Aaron and Alex played a game of Risk a game we used to play a lot when my first two children were growing up. We got down to Alex, Nicole and I when we had to stop so we could go over to Seth and Laurie’s (my stepson and daughter-in-law) where we met up with most the kids and all grandchildren. Our eleven grandchildren range from the oldest, 16 year old Chrystal to the youngest, 9 month old Tate. We had brunch (waffles, crepes, strawberries, whipped cream, bacon and sausage) and then all the kids opened their presents…so adorable. We hung out and played games, all the guys and Angela went out in the snow and played touch football and later we got some great family photos. I have a group of photos of Alex with my biological children, Michael and Nicole but I didn’t have any of Alex with his siblings from the Swetman side. Yesterday they were all together (something that does not happen often) so we got some great shots of all the kids…then with spouses, then with the grandchildren. We had a great time.

Rich, Alex and I got home around 6:00, I made linguine with clams while Rich and Alex played another one of the new games. After dinner Alex was so tired, (he and Nicole stayed up until 2:00 a.m.) so he went upstairs to watch a Rocky movie while Rich and I watched The Kingdom…good movie, the last few lines of the movie say it all, I actually found myself praying…

Rich and I went to bed and both said, this was one of the best Christmas seasons. it was a great combination of being with our faith community and some of our kids on Christmas Eve and then being with all the kids on Christmas day.

Today, Alex is working on getting his electronics to work. I need to get a great deal of over due writing done for school.

From today’s prayers “Sacred Space”:

    How do I find myself today?
    Where am I with God? With others?
    Do I have something to be grateful for?
    Then I give thanks.
    Is there something I am sorry for?
    Then I ask forgiveness.

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